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February 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Wednesday politics: State of the Union, Pelz told to put on big boy panties, longer wait for divorce
State of the Union and the responses. So, what did you think? How did President Obama do? Is he noticeably more relaxed and more in command at the beginning of his second term, as some people say? What did you think of the substance of the speech? Some observers said he was strongest when he spoke on gun control.
On another matter, he proposed an increase in the federal minimum wage, to $9 an hour.
Our state’s minimum wage is higher.
The U. S. Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act. This was hard fought. Our senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, were both active in securing passage.
Dwight Pelz and the rogue Democrats. This might be a frustrating time for Dwight Pelz, state Democratic Party chairman, who has been a little miffed at state Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon. Tom and Sheldon, both Democrats, joined with Republicans in the Senate to form what they call the Majority Coalition Caucus. That left the Democrats who thought they were in control in the Senate – not. The party has said the senators were guilty of disloyalty and they were uninvited from party funds and mailing lists. Now Tim Sheldon’s wife, Linda, has joined the, um, proceedings. She told Pelz to “put on his big boy panties” and learn to compromise.
Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry? State Sen. Don Benton is filing a lot of bills this legislative session. One of the latest by the Vancouver Republican would extend the waiting period for a divorce, from three months to a year. What do you think of that idea?
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February 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM
The State of the Union address. President Obama will spend part of the week practicing his remarks, which, political junkies surely know, will be delivered Tuesday evening. These speeches often have someone referring to them as the most important of — what? — the year, a term, a presidency. Here’s one bit of analysis from The Washington Post that calls Tuesday’s oratory the most important state of the union of Obama’s two terms, because he has an ambitious legislative agenda on everything from gun control legislation to immigration reform.
The Sunday New York Times said the speech will focus on boosting the economic prosperity of the middle class, while mentioning a few initiatives in education, infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing.
The official Republican response to the president will come from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and the less official tea party response will come from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.
U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are busy on the Violence Against Women Act. Murray and Cantwell both are involved in the debate over reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, and both are especially vocal about the law as it relates to Native Americans. The matter comes up for a vote Monday. Murray spoke last week on the Senate floor. The first few minutes of the video below give a flavor of what Cantwell has to say.
All this talk of gun control. In the ongoing back and forth on gun control, President Obama recently said, tweeted, to be more precise, that as many as 40 percent of guns are sold by private unlicensed sellers — without background checks. Obama has been challenged for saying that, but here is a pretty interesting take on this angle of the discussion.
PolitiFact says the claim is based on old data from the 1990s and rates it half true
Dennis Kucinich Road Tour.Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is heading out on a speaking tour, discussing his views of his time in Congress and other topics. And, guess what, he’s not coming to the Northwest. That is so last year. Kucinich is going to Santa Barbara and Oakland, Calif., and Madison, Wis.
Tuesday is the last day to mail ballots in the Seattle school levy election. There are two levies, one operating, one capital. King County Elections will announce the first batch of results around 8:15 p.m.Tuesday.
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February 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good morning. Happy Friday to you.
Responding to Newtown: What do you think of this idea? State Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, wants to put panic alarms in school administrative offices in case of a threat. The alarms would be directly connected to police.
State parks and the state budget: Last summer, Times reporter Javier Panzar revealed that the plan to pay for park operations through sales of the Discover Pass entry card was coming up short. Proceeds were well below expectations. Now a lawmaker wants to match Discover Pass revenues with state general-fund money. Parks officials want the state to kick in and help, even though another general fund shortfall is expected.
REI’s Sally Jewell and presidential succession: Jewell’s nomination as U.S. secretary of the interior puts her No. 8 in the line of succession to the president. But, Jewell, it should be noted, was born in England. So, she could not fill in for the president. Still, she would hardly be the first Cabinet member in that predicament.
Resounding support for women in combat: Want to guess the percentage of Americans who favor women in combat? It’s a very high number. Interestingly, the Quinnipiac survey that came up with that figure shows less support for including women in any military draft.
A day late but too tempting to ignore: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in a tiff with a former White House doctor, Connie Mariano, who said Christie needs to lose weight if he wants to run for president. She worries about him dying in office. Christie told the doctor in question to “shut up.” OK, that was yesterday’s news. But watch the officer/aide to the right of Christie as the governor goes full New Jersey.
February 4, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Both Washington state political party chairmen are coming back: Dwight Pelz has been re-elected to another stint at the helm of the state Democratic party. And the loquacious and quotable Kirby Wilbur, state Republican Party chairman, was elected to another term. Pelz had a far better showing in the 2012 election. Democrats won the governor’s office, the attorney general’s contest and other posts. Wilbur’s victory point was Kim Wyman, the new Secretary of State and only Republican statewide elected official on the West Coast.
Are you yea or nay on proposed relaxation of motorcycle helmet rules? Doesn’t matter. You will want to watch this smoking TVW testimony on a proposed change in the current helmet law.
State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, has been introducing a lot of bills this session and one, Senate Bill 5143, would allow motorcyclists 18 and over to go without a helmet.
The national media love to talk about our pot law: CNN Money had a jolly time describing the latest job opening in Washington, pot consultant. Check this link.
Politico has the photo proof, Obama is getting a little older. Click and see.
Hardy perennial: Almost every legislative session, a bill is introduced to allow digital billboards next to highways. Hearings on the latest plan will be held this week.
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February 1, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning, Happy Friday.
This definitely puts a damper on flash mobs:. A Lakewood state senator is trying to get ahead of a weird twist on flash mobs. Flash mobs, as you probably know, are groups of people who gather at a set time and place and begin, say, dancing in a well choreographed manner. Flash robs are altogether different. These are groups of people who gather and rob places. This has happened from Portland to Chicago. Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, has offered a bill in Olympia — SB 5178 — that would toughen up on those who use email or text to organize themselves and steal $250 or more of merchandise from a store.
Below is one of the better uses of this organizational and technological phenomenon, the famous flash mob in Belgium.
U.S. Rep Denny Heck’s observations from D.C. (Shout out to The Olympian for excellent. blog fodder, by the by). The Olympian interviewed new U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, the representative from Washington’s brand new 10th Congressional District. He has been in office less than a month and is surprised to find the partisanship in the nation’s capital even more pronounced than he expected. And Heck knows stuff.
Valentine’s Day with Al Gore. Darn, the Seattle Arts & Lectures event featuring Al Gore is sold out. The former vice president is coming to Seattle for a conversation with Professor David Domke, chairman of the University of Washington Department of Communications. The event is billed as a clear-eyed discussion of the emerging forces shaping our world. Gore has had a rough week following the sale of his network, Current TV, to Al Jazeera. Comedian Jon Stewart interviewed, I mean, grilled, Gore this week on his show.
Is she or isn’t she? PubliCola asks a good question. Is Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, who occupies a very important profile position with so much happening in transportation around the state, staying or going in the new Gov, Jay Inslee administration? Worth watching.
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January 30, 2013 at 6:00 AM
A new take on Rodney Tom conversion? The new leader in the state Senate, he of the Majority Coalition Caucus, is an enigma for some Democrats who wonder how he can call himself a Democrat when he joined with Republicans to form the Republican-leaning group. Republican John Carlson has an interesting piece on Tom in Crosscut.
What do you think of the bill to change the state code to use gender-neutral language? Bye bye, firemen, fishermen and other such terms. If I am not mistaken, the University of Washington Daily has done something similar.
High marks for Washington’s charter school law. The charter bill is brand new and implementation will take time. But still the bill wins high marks for the way it is drafted. No. 3 in the country, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Oregon going to pot, well, maybe sometime. The Oregonian says Oregon could be one of the next couple of states to legalize marijuana , perhaps in 2014 or 2016. Oregon had a pot measure on the ballot this past year, but the measure was very broad and did not pass voter muster.
Good days and bad days, bad mornings followed by better afternoons: Tuesday morning, state Rep. Gary Alexander was part of an AP inquiry into lawmakers’ expense reports, dry cleaning expenses, to be specific. The story included Alexander’s cleaning bill. Uh oh.
Later in the afternoon, Alexander was announced as as the new Thurston County auditor, filling a spot vacated by Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Question for Alexander: Does he intend to become Secretary of State? Just asking. Both Wyman and former Secretary of State Sam Reed were Thurston County auditor before becoming Secretary of State.
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January 28, 2013 at 6:00 AM
New Obama in office: Many political observers are talking about President Obama’s inaugural address and how, in the second term, he may just let his views hang out there. He does seem to be developing new ways to maneuver around partisan gridlock. The latest example is gun control. Instead of calling up a bunch of moderate Democratic senators and twisting their jittery arms to support his policies, he is taking his case to the public. Their public. Interesting strategy.
Sarah Palin out; her fans’ worst nightmare: Palin has run her course on FOX. She is out as a Fox news contributor.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the new Senate budget chairwoman. Slate has a fascinating piece about Murray’s potential impact on budget negotiations.
Closer to home, Don Benton is the star of the local blogs. State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, barely won re-election. You will recall his race went into recount. But none of that is worrying the state senator these days. He’s a busy guy, introducing a lot of legislation, including a parental notification bill now gaining a lot of attention.
Avoid the crowd in the Seattle mayor’s race. How would you like to be a Seattle Port commissioner? The ad (below) has been appearing in a couple of media locales of late. It’s an ad aimed at filling the port commission seat vacated by Gael Tarleton who has gone to the Legislature. To the uninitiated, it looks like an ad for the four port seats that will be up this fall.
But Port Commissioner Tom Albro says the ad is designed to find good people to fill Tarleton’s spot and serve an important community institution. It doesn’t hurt if it raises the profile and awareness of the work the port does.
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January 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Happy Friday.
Rob McKenna getting out more. I had a long chat with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna the other day. You may have heard some of this already. McKenna plans to work for a law firm here or in Silicon Valley. He is talking to a half dozen law firms and he is very interested in regulatory law, particularly digital privacy and other such issues. McKenna waxed philosophical about the future of the Republican Party, national and local. Obviously, Republicans here have to appeal, he said, “to an increasingly diverse state.” He thinks voters in blue states like Washington favor a libertarian approach to topics like a woman’s right to choose. One of the questions for candidates like McKenna, however, is how does one take a more libertarian approach on social issues and not lose the GOP base?
I asked McKenna about his wife, Marilyn, who turned into a prolific tweeter during and after the 2012 election, tweeting messages not always in sync with her husband’s positions on the issues. For example, she tweeted after the election about her support for gay marriage. McKenna explained that his wife felt differently about that topic. McKenna wouldn’t say if he would run again in 2016. He only mentioned the things candidates have to give up, how long they have to run (almost two years for such a post) and then never said never.
Poll breaks reveals troubles with the Republican brand: Republicans in Washington state are wondering, as any party would, what is wrong with the image or brand of the state GOP. Republicans have not won the Washington’s governor’s race for three decades. Frequent pollster for Republicans Bob Moore released a new survey that shows voters are more troubled by a sense that Republican policies favor big business and the rich more than concern about a social agenda.
Fun tweet about Gov. Jay Inslee from Peter Callahan. The point, of course, is that Inslee has lived in Eastern Washington. He was a lawyer in Selah, Yakima County, a state legislator and a congressman from the 4th Congressional District.
How much do you like waiting days or weeks for elections officials to count ballots? Ummmmm. Every election year begs the same question. Does Washington state, high-tech center of the known universe, count ballots on Election Days slowly, too slowly or just right? One lawmaker told The News Tribune that he has plans to speed things up. Read this.
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January 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. NBC and the Wall Street Journal took the opportunity to offer a poll that shows a new majority now favors abortion. The poll is interesting, because poll numbers on this topic have been bopping around in recent years. Take a look.
Joe Biden and 2016. One natural way to amuse oneself during a long day of inaugural festivities is to ask: Is Joe Biden having such a good time that he is running for president in 2016? That’s what roughly half the crowd was wondering this week.
What do you think? Look at that expression.
Guns and Congress: There has been talk that some Democratic members of Congress might be soft or softening on gun legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will not duck this difficult issue. Reid did not specifically address the assault weapons ban. He said lawmakers would go deep on the subject. Hard to say what that really means.
Does Rodney Tom match his district? State Sen. Rodney Tom is one of the best-known state lawmakers this session, partly because of his decision to break ranks with his fellow Democrats and join Republicans in forming a leadership arrangement in the Senate, the majority coalition caucus. Democrats are not happy with him. But even critics concede Tom is in sync with his Eastside district on tax increases. PublicCola took a look at voting in the recent election by legislative district and found Tom’s voters agree with him on Tim Eyman’s tax-limitation measures. Sync is sync.
A fee on lobbyists. Once again, state Rep. Jim Moeller of Vancouver is introducing a bill that would slap a fee on lobbyists and politicians — the money would go toward improving the Public Disclosure Commission’s online presence.
The Seattle Times politics team has a new Facebook page, and we are eager for friends and likes.
January 21, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Happy MLK and second inaugural day.
President Obama will be sworn in (again) to his second term today. Here is a link to the schedule, the ceremonial swearing in, the festivities, all of it. Question: Is there an excitement/enthusiasm gap between this inauguration and Obama’s first one in 2008? You make the call. Update: Swearing-in just concluded. What did you think?
Chris Christie, bad boy of the Republican Party. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seems to be enjoying the heck out of his penchant for going rogue on his own party. Last week, he did it again, telling the National Rifle Association it was way out of line running an ad about Obama’s kids and public safety measures provided at their school.
Gender gap and conservatives: It’s no secret that the Republican Party has a gender gap problem. Women favored President Obama pretty significantly in the recent election. In fact, the gender gap was described as historic. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is featured in a Talking Points Memo piece about conservative women tackling the GOP’s problem with women voters.
State Sen. Steve Litzow: State Sen. Steve Litzow made noise in the Legislature when he put his name on a bill requiring reproductive parity. He is co-sponsoring the legislation along with state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens. Litzow is clearly a moderate Republican, rising in his party. The Reproductive Parity Act was an issue in his recent re-election campaign. Even though Litzow is pro-choice, he voted against the bill amid the budget coup last year. Some Democrats tried to make that into a big issue. Litzow is featured as PubliCola’s lawmaker at the center of the action.
Other lawmakers in the news: State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, does not want light rail on the new bridge crossing the Columbia River to Oregon. He is quite serious about this, having proposed legislation last week to make sure it doesn’t happen. His co-sponsor is Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center.
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