Hello Loyal Readers,
This was a busy week for political news, so naturally my Friday Odds and Ends are stuffed, but before I get started, I had a few emails and I wanted to clarify something.
Like many of you, I have been glued to the news from Boston. I choose not to cover those sorts of big stories here at the Political Junkie, not because they aren’t important, but because there are plenty of other and better news sources for that sort of thing. My heart goes out to the people suffering in Boston (here’s how to help), but I know you tune into the Political Junkie to find out the whole story on issues you can’t get anywhere else: in-depth stories about local political news and events.
As this blog continues to evolve, I am working with you, my loyal readers, to fine-tune it to just what you need. If you feel strongly about what I should and shouldn’t be covering, you can always shoot me an email.
Enough meta-discussion, onward to the Odds and Ends.
In the state legislature, there has been a ton of activity. Many people across the state were frustrated that two key bills, the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA) and the state DREAM Act both died in committee. What happened was that Democratic turncoat made majority leader Rodney Tom had promised to support both bills, however he referred them to committees chaired by conservative Republicans who refused to let them escape (similar to what Doug Ericksen did to the Toxics bill). Rodney Tom has the power to bring up for vote on the Senate floor any bill that is in committee, but he has chosen not to, even though there are enough votes for final passage.
Kevin Ranker, in an interview with The Political Junkie, mentioned that the Senate Republicans elected the Tom as their majority leader with a very specific condition. “Part of the bargain for the Republican control of the Senate was ‘no positive women’s health bills off the floor.” Some have speculated that Tom refuses to bring up the RPA for fear of losing his position as majority chair.
Either way, the Democrats tried to force the issue by using a procedural move called “Ninth Order,” which allows bills to be pulled directly from committee to the floor. It is the same maneuver the Republicans and Tom used last session that allowed them to pass the Republican budget. Tom, despite claiming he supports the DREAM Act and RPA, voted against that move too, denying millions of vulnerable women and immigrants the choices and resources they need.
In the weird news category, Sen. Doug Ericksen asked for a floor vote on the Toxic Toys bill which would ban dangerous chemicals in furniture, children’s toys and mattresses. Why is this weird? As I mentioned above, Sen. Ericksen illegally shut down a vote on that bill in his committee earlier this year. Now, he wants the Rules Committee to bring it up for a vote. Why now? In the intervening time, he gutted the bill so that it only applies to two chemicals and only to children’s toys. When asked about it, he responded with his usual tact and charm saying that the Democrats will pass it. “Do they want to ban these two chemicals or not?”
In more local news, it has been launch week for several candidates. Michelle Luke declared her intention for a rematch against Carl Weimer, Bob Burr is challenging Barry Buchanan for the Bellingham City Council At-Large seat, Clayton Petree is seeking the 4th ward against Pinky Vargas, and Rud Browne held a truly impressive kickoff on Thursday night with a wide selection of attendees. Any time you have Bob Pritchett (of Logos Bible Software), Alex Ramel (of Whatcom Conservation Voters), Tony Larson (fmr. Tea Party County Councilmember) and Lisa McShane (does she need a parenthetical description?) at the same kickoff, you know the other guy is in trouble. That said, I’m interviewing the other guy, Bill Knutzen, next week. So stay tuned.
Remember how I mentioned the State Republicans were auctioning off an assault weapon? Here’s the footage.
It looks like Whatcom County will be getting a fourth Superior Court Judge. Thanks to efforts by most of our delegates from the 40th and 42nd, we will be getting some funding (the state splits the bill with the county on this one) for a fourth judge. Naturally, this will trigger an election in 2014 for an open seat. Last time there was an open seat, it created a very interesting race between David Grant, Carrie Coppinger Carter, and the eventual victor, Deborra Garrett. After some investigation (and thank you to Katie Drewel, Rep. Lytton’s Legislative Aide, for her excellent constituent service in helping me track down the answer) I was able to uncover that the governor will appoint the judge in the interim. Let the judicial speculation begin!
Finally, long-time Bellingham Chamber of Commerce President Ken Oplinger has accepted a job down in Santa
Monica Barbara, CA and will be leaving his post after Ski to Sea. I spoke with him briefly about the future of the Chamber. He said the Board of Directors will meet and perhaps appoint an interim director, but there will be a national search for a new president, which should conclude around August.
I realize that was a lot of Odds and Ends. I will have more articles on candidates and a special investigative report over the weekend, so stay tuned. Also, I’ve been getting conflicting feedback about the frequency of posts – how much is too much? So if you wouldn’t mind helping me by clicking and taking this little poll.