Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Feb. 2010

Feb.
26th

Ethics board targeted for closure

Rep. Jeannie Darneille wants to save the state money by shutting down the agency charged with acting as an ethics watchdog for the executive branch.

The House Ways and Means Committee could decide today whether to eliminate the Executive Ethics Board.

The board’s $492,000 budget comes from legal-services funds paid by state agencies. Darneille, whose General Government Appropriations Committee has been scouring government for savings, has offered an amendment cutting the money from the budget.

Darneille explains: “What concerned me about them was the low level of productivity of the board. They don’t meet but I think six times a year. They have four staff. They haven’t had any major decisions that have come out of the board.”

Most of the fines it gives out are for state employees alleged to have misused public resources, usually by doing personal business at work or on government computers.

Read more »

Feb.
26th

Attempted crimes added to bail limits

Senators made another move this morning to pacify their House critics when the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to allow judges to deny bail for attempted crimes.

The lack of attempted but failed crimes in a state constitutional amendment proposed Thursday by Sens. Adam Kline and Mike Carrell had drawn fire from Rep. Mike Hope.

Hope had complained someone who brings a bomb on a plane or into a building or brings a gun into a school wouldn’t be covered. But today senators amended their proposal before moving it on to fix that.

Friends and family members of the slain

Read more »

Feb.
26th

Drive hammered, get nailed with towing costs

A person arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs would have his or her car impounded for 12 hours under a bill by Ferndale Republican Rep. Doug Ericksen.

Law enforcement officers currently aren’t required to have vehicles impounded if drivers are arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, provided that a reasonable alternative – dropping the car off at a parking lot, for example – is found.

Under the bill, after the 12-hour window is up, the vehicle would be released to its registered owner.

The statewide rate is $160 per hour for costs

Read more »

Feb.
26th

Morning update: Day 47

Good morning on the last day for policy committees to hear bills this year. That deadline should make it a busy day, and legislators then plan to work through Saturday and Sunday. What to watch for:

Read more »

Feb.
25th

Can’t get no respect

Rep. Christopher Hurst has been taking shots at the folks across the capitol rotunda for a while now over the issue of bail. Hurst let loose with another volley today to reporters. Here are his comments about Sen. Adam Kline and Sen. Mike Carrell:

“I think there is a modicum of respect that’s necessary in the process, and one of those issues is the committee chair sitting down with the other committee chair. This is the first time in the last couple of years where Adam has said, ‘Well, when we’re done with it we’ll tell you.’

Read more »

Feb.
25th

Is the way to Legislators’ hearts through their stomach?

It’s hard to compete with Beef Day.

No, not a tire promotion but the Washington State Cattlemans Association’s annual bar-b-que where any one who shows up gets free hamburgers and chips. Didn’t see a lot of legislators when I walked by but there were plenty of staffers and lobbyists.

Not to be outdone, though, was the National Confectioners Association which was distributing small bags of candy to lawmakers including red, white and blue M&Ms with a special message.

“No Candy Tax.”

“In WA.”

The sweet talk was aimed at Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposal to end the sales tax exemption for

Read more »

Feb.
25th

Pierce GOP to rally faithful at Lincoln Day

Congressman Dave Reichert, former gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi and combat photographer Phil Kiver are among the headliners at Saturday’s Lincoln Day Celebration in Lakewood. This is the annual kickoff breakfast event for Pierce County Republicans.

Here is a press release on the event:

The Pierce County Republican Party Announces Annual Lincoln Day Celebration Saturday February 27th  Lakewood WA

 The Pierce County Republican Party is holding their annual Lincoln Day breakfast this Saturday in Lakewood.  The event will be held at Broadway Joe’s in The Great American Casino with buffet breakfast, “dessert frenzy”, barber shop quartet and featured speakers. 
Read more »

Feb.
25th

House members pan new bail try

House members aren’t satisfied with the overtures from senators to meet them halfway on bail.

Sen. Mike Carrell and Sen. Adam Kline announced their latest proposal today for a constitutional amendment to put before voters. It would allow judges to deny bail not just for frequent offenders, as the bill that passed the Senate would do, but also for people charged with crimes “involving the intentional death of another, the intentional infliction of great bodily harm on another” and certain sex offenses.

They listed the offenses for which suspects could be detained – from murder down to first-degree child molestation – and said they would have allowed judges to lock up at least 617 more people last year.

But they wouldn’t include all Class A felonies, like the version that passed the House. Crimes like vehicular homicide, arson, robbery and burglary would not be included in the version that will now be considered by Kline’s committee.

“We need to distinguish between those things that are harmful to individuals, and those things that are bad, very bad things, but not harmful to individuals,” Carrell said.

Read more »