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: Nov. 2012

Nov.
29th

Health Secretary Mary Selecky approves new marriage certificate after recognition of same-sex marriage

The Health Department originally contemplated changing the certificate to say “Spouse A” and “Spouse B” to reflect passage of Referendum 74, but chose to allow multiple options, according to its news release today:

Secretary of Health Mary Selecky approved the rules-change to add “spouse” to the existing language that includes “bride” and “groom.” Couples can check a box to choose the term they prefer. The original proposed change was to replace “bride” and “groom” with “spouse,” but many public comments suggested providing optional language, and Selecky agreed. More than 100 public comments were taken in writing and at a

Read more »

Nov.
29th

Jay Inslee names Renton Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel chief of staff

Heuschel will leave her job at the Renton School District to become Inslee’s chief of staff, a choice that is getting some accolades in both Republican and Democratic ranks.

Heuschel is a former principal and teacher and a former state deputy superintendent under then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson. She was named state Superintendent of the Year for 2011 and was a finalist for the same honor nationally.

Inslee said she has brought an “unrelenting search for quality” to Renton schools and would make state government “lift its aspirations” and implement Lean management. Heuschel said she used a quality-improvement system in

Read more »

Nov.
29th

State chooses local bridges to be replaced and repaired

The state Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it’s chosen 70 bridges to be replaced or repaired with $130 million from the Federal Highway Fund.

Local selections include $10 million to replace the Puyallup River Bridge, about $2.4 million for a new North Fork Muck Creek Bridge on 8th Avenue East southwest of Graham, and $ 9.6 million to redo Sumner’s White River-Truss Bridge.

The deck rehabilitation of the Union Avenue Viaduct will get $3 million of the funds, and the Schuster Parkway-Ruston Way Bridge will get about $1.9 million for the same project.

Nov.
28th

Senate Republicans elect Mark Schoesler as leader

Sen. Mark Schoesler is a wheat farmer and a 20-year veteran of the Legislature who hails from rural Ritzville, about halfway between the Tri-Cities and Spokane.

He has helped write the state budget and has been a loud opponent of anything he sees as government waste. He also chaired Senate Republicans’ campaign committee, which couldn’t take over the majority but picked up one seat, leaving the GOP with more control if they can ally with two fiscally conservative Democrats.

Now he will be at the forefront as the Senate figures out who’s in charge. Republicans today elected him their leader, replacing

Read more »

Nov.
28th

Gov.-elect Inslee announces list of 34 transition advisers, including a few old hands from Olympia

Gov.-elect Jay Inslee has tapped a few old hands from Olympia for his new 34-member transition committee, including a few who helped his campaign. But he’s also tapped a couple of prominent Republicans, including former five-term secretary of state Ralph Munro, a slew of business leaders and he has been consulting former governors.

Inslee’s full transition committee list is here. The actors with the most inside-Olympia experience include state Labor Council president Jeff Johnson, Washington Federation of State Employees leader Greg Devereux, and state firefighters’ leader Kelly Fox. The emerging transition team, which is co-chaired by Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smith and two others,also has such long-time Olympia insiders as Sen. Lisa Brown, a Spokane Democrat. Brown until recently served as Senate majority leader.

Also on the committee is Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association, which backed Inslee.

Another campaign-connected member is Brendon Cechovic, executive director of the Seattle-based Washington Conservation Voters, which did a lot of doorbelling and advocacy to help Inslee’s win over Republican Rob McKenna. County elections officials certified  that Inslee won by 96,557 votes on Tuesday, the same day his campaign released its list of advisers.

Appearing to be missing from the Inslee transition list are people who obviously meet the test laid out by Inslee on the campaign trail for the kind of folks he’ll eventually hire to run agencies. He said he wanted “disruptive” agents likely to bring change to the culture of Olympia.

Read more »

Nov.
28th

Recounts coming in three legislative races

Here’s our wrapup of Pierce County’s Tuesday certification of election results.

There are also a few other races around the state worth noting, including one in South King County that narrowly avoided what looked a day earlier like a potential hand recount.

Covington Republican Rep. Mark Hargrove‘s lead over Democrat Bud Sizemore grew to 157 votes on the final day, avoiding the manual recount that would have been triggered at less than 150 votes and 0.25 percent of both candidates’ totals. Instead, there will be a recount by machine on Friday.

There will, however, be hand recounts in Clark

Read more »

Nov.
27th

Pierce Transit measure fails by 704 votes

A measure that would have increased funding for Pierce Transit failed by 704 votes, according to final election results released today.

Proposition 1 would have raised sales tax within the agency’s boundaries by three-tenths of one percent.

Without the funding, Pierce Transit will cut bus service after 7 p.m. and on weekends, officials have said. Disability service will also be reduced. Cuts will have to be completed by spring of 2014. The board that oversees the agency will set a timeline for implementing the changes, which will include time to seek public comment.

Proposition 1 was rejected 100,943 votes to

Read more »

Nov.
27th

Democrats nominate Jim Hargrove as budget chair, Tracey Eide for transportation, Steve Conway for gov-ops

UPDATED 9 a.m. Wednesday: Here’s our print story, including comments from Democrats Sheldon and Fraser and Republican Mark Schoesler. Notably, conservative Democrat Sheldon is calling for an equal split on the transportation committee, with leaders from both parties and both sides of the mountains — rather than having Eide as sole chairwoman.

Senate Democrats have picked their nominees to lead two powerful budget-writing committees, selecting Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and Des Moines Sen. Tracey Eide as chairwoman of the Transportation Committee.

They picked Sen. Tim Sheldon of Mason County as President Pro Tempore.

And Sen. Steve Conway of Tacoma is the Democrats’ choice to serve as chairman of the wide-ranging Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee.


Tracey Eide

The decisions are subject to approval by the full Senate, which could be tricky with the new leverage minority Republicans are expected to gain if GOP Sen. Don Benton survives a recount in Clark County.

But if Democrats’ picks stand, here’s who would fill some of the key leadership and committee posts (will update with more): Read more »