OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee held his weekly news conference with reporters Thursday and answered questions about union contracts, his proposal to curb carbon pollution, and, of course, the Seahawks. Here are some highlights:
1. Inslee said he had a “five corners” breakfast meeting with leaders of all four legislative caucuses Thursday morning and came away optimistic that Republicans and Democrats can cooperate. “I’m seeing a seriousness of intent and a bipartisan effort to listen to one another that I think is heartening to start this session,” he said. The governor pushed back against a reporter’s suggestion that the top Democratic and Republican budget writers were starting on “different planets” when it came to budget talks. “They’re both earthlings and they’re doing quite well,” he said.
2. The governor rejected calls by Republicans and others to make negotiations with state employee unions open to the public. Groups such as the Washington Policy Center have pushed to open up the negotiations, pointing to other states where collective bargaining sessions are conducted in public sessions. Inslee opposed that idea. “I don’t think that would be fruitful,” he said, noting legislators get the final say on the contracts. “We have the final result. It’s available for an up or down vote. That’s what really important,” he said.
3. Despite questions and criticism from some lawmakers and businesses about his cap-and-trade proposal, Inslee said he’s been pleased with the reaction so far. He described lawmakers as showing “very intense interest” in reducing carbon emissions, even if they disagree with him on the details.
4. Inslee said he’s “open” to proposals to change the state initiative process, such as one bill that seeks to amend the state constitution to block initiatives that don’t include a way to pay for them. Inslee said the Legislature is a better place to deal with “huge fiscal decisions” than initiatives because lawmakers have to consider budget trade-offs. “In the initiative process, voters are not allowed to make priority decisions,” he said.
5. Inslee announced a proclamation for three “moments of loudness” to be held statewide at noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in honor of the Seahawks Super Bowl matchup against the New England Patriots. Inslee predicted a 27-20 win for the Seahawks.