Posted by: sweeneyblog | January 18, 2015

The Capital Beat 2015: The Good and the Expected

Hello Loyal Readers,

That’s right, after a few weeks of calling around, I secured a fresh set of sources in Olympia and am ready for my second straight year of weekly legislative coverage. Every week (I’m aiming for Tuesday but it may fluctuate), I will be reporting on our state legislature with a focus on the legislators from the 40th and 42nd. You can support this effort by donating here.

Sen. Cyrus Habib

Sen. Cyrus Habib

I wanted to start off with some good news. Amid the tense battles over climate change, budget and education, Sen. Cyrus Habib (D), who we profiled last year, proposed a bill that would allow you, me, and anyone with a internet connection and web cam to submit our own comments on bills being proposed.

These videos would be stored, youtube-style, through TVW (Washington’s C-SPAN) and accessible to legislators during the decision-making process – thus saving ordinary citizens the cost of taking off work, driving to Olympia and twisting the legislator’s arm in person.

The downside is that legislators would actually have to chose to view these videos, citizens would have to be able to understand what legislation is being proposed and there are no free lunches involved.

Did someone say Doug Ericksen (R-Free Lunch)? Yes, he is back in Olympia and dining on lobbyist’s dime once again. This time he was spotted at Ramblin’ Jacks (a popular Olympia happy hour location) dining with lobbyist Thomas Parker who just picked up a contract with the Whatcom Council of Governments. Yes – a decent lobbyist.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, dining on lobbyist dime

Sen. Doug Ericksen, dining on lobbyist dime

When the bill came, Parker paid the tab with a $20 while Ericksen was watching but swapped it out with his card after Ericksen left. With the last election so solidly in his favor, I’m not surprised to see Ericksen returning to his ethically-challenged behavior.

With the next couple of posts in The Capital Beat, I will be profiling the legislative proposals from all of the Whatcom County legislators. Stay tuned!



  1. With the initial op-ed Olympia Watch piece in the Cascadia Weekly (The Gristle: Making the Difficult Impossible – Jan. 14th issue) outlining rule changes in the Republican-controlled Senate, I am looking forward to details in your column on the legislative process this session.

    The procedural change spearheaded by (you guessed it) Doug Erickson, R – Ferndale, now requires a supermajority Senate vote for revenue increases. Voted into place along strict party lines, 26-23, the slim Republican majority now requires 33 votes to approve any tax measure to be considered.

    It would appear that legislative stalemate has come to state government now in addition to the U.S. Congress. – Mike

  2. Interesting how much weight Doug has put on over the years.

  3. Riley…I appreciate your coverage of the legislative process. Our democracy only works when ordinary people are informed and involved. I encourage involvement by talking to lawmakers, writing letters and emails, sharing ideas and stories, and testifying in committees. But our jobs go beyond policy and legislation. It’s important to know what else legislators are working on beyond billls/legislation. I encourage citizens to sign up for our newsletters and visit us in Olympia. However, the best time for your voice to be heard is when we are in our home districts outside of the legislative session. That’s when we begin exploring issues and ideas. Whatever your political leanings, please remember that we can accomplish more when we work together. And the best decisions we can make are when we understand both sides of the issue and the communities we serve.
    Representative Kristine Lytton, 40th Legislative District

  4. You might not get any more “help.” After you said that his commenting helps your blog, Wayne Farber has not commented about anything. It is sure interesting that there were 66 comments on the last post, not a single one made by Wayne Farber… I’m really surprised.

  5. James – I guess Wayne decided to take his (deflated) football and go home. Haw, haw, haw! ROFL

  6. […] SB5490 would allow Point Roberts to spend some of their transportation tax funds on a bus to shuttle students to extra curricular activities. This is one of the priorities for the Whatcom Council of Governments, who employed Tom Parker, a lobbyist, to get passed. Parker was spotted earlier this year buying Ericksen dinner (of course). […]

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