Political Buzz

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Category: Voting & Elections


Were seeds for Majority Coalition Caucus in state Senate sewn in Washington Redistricting Commission?

Well, yeah. Sort of.

The so-called coup by 23 formerly minority Republicans and two Democrats that broke in mid-December came just after the final undecided Senate race was decided.

Because it was so close, the race between GOP incumbent Don Benton and challenger Tim Probst wasn’t official until the election was certified. Benton won reelection by 78 votes out of just under 55,000 cast. Once he was in and the GOP total was up to 23 votes, the coalition with Democrats Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon could became a majority of 25.

Did Benton deliver the majority?

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Fraud seen in initiative petitions, again; Kim Wyman says tougher laws may be needed

UPDATED 4:35 p.m. with comments from the state elections director.

Elections officials said today they have found apparent fraud in petitions submitted by three paid signature gatherers working for two ballot-measure campaigns.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman ‘s office called it “the worst apparent initiative fraud anyone can remember” — even though this is the fourth straight year in which officials have detected signature fraud — and Wyman “pledged that the state’s continuing crackdown will continue, possibly with tougher regulations.”

She didn’t say what those would be but said her staff would meet with elections officials in Oregon. According to a

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House panel votes 11-0 for bill requiring state voter pamphlets for primary elections

There was no suspense and nary a word of discussion to precede it. The House Government Operations and Elections Committee voted 11-to-0 today to send Republican Rep. Gary Alexander’s primary-election voter pamphlet bill to the full House for consideration.

House Bill 1211 would cost about $1 million per budget cycle and pay for a state voter pamphlet for primary elections. It is the first of a handful of elections bills identified by Democratic committee chairman Sam Hunt for passage this year.

My elections bill roundup post from last week is here.  HB 1211 needs approval by

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Activists asking Legislature to take a stand on controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance

Getting a federal constitutional amendment passed is a tall order at best – if not a fool’s errand in some cases. But activists from a handful of groups worried about the influence of money in politics brought an estimated 12,000 petition signatures to the state Capitol Thursday, seeking legislative support for exactly such a federal campaign.

The activists gave their petitions to state Sen. Adam Kline, a Seattle Democrat who is introducing a bill that would ask Congress to draft the constitutional amendment for adoption by the states. Kline hasn’t dropped his bill into the hopper but he says his

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AG-elect Ferguson names Noah Guzzo Purcell as new state solicitor general

Attorney General-elect Bob Ferguson has picked Seattle lawyer Noah Guzzo Purcell to serve as his new solicitor general after he takes office next week. Purcell, a Seattle native, replaces Maureen Hart, who is retiring. The move is one of the few announced by Ferguson, a Democrat, as he prepares to take the place of two-term Republican Rob McKenna on Jan. 16.

Purcell is a Harvard trained lawyer from Seattle who once clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter and who has provided pro bono legal help to patients in the Plan B contraceptives case – Stormans v. Selecky,

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State schools chief Dorn asking legislators for authority over charter schools

Washington schools superintendent Randy Dorn has sent state lawmakers a request to alter language in the charter schools initiative that voters approved in November. The Associated Press is reporting Dorn sent a letter asking legislators, who open a 105-day regular session on Monday, to give him authority over the schools:

Dorn says the law, which was approved by voters in November, is unconstitutional because it establishes a separate system of public schools, run by an independent, unelected agency. The state constitution says the superintendent of public instruction is in charge of all matters

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U.S. Rep. Heck opens new 10th district office in Lacey

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck was sworn into office earlier today in Washington, D.C., and his new congressional web site became active. Heck also announced he opened his 10th district office on the third floor of Lacey City Hall.

Heck put out a news release that said the office, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, is available to meet with constituents. Roel van der Lugt, who had worked for U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, was named Heck’s district director.

Heck, a Democrat, beat Pierce County Councilman Dick Muri, a Republican, in November’s

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I-522 backers turning in signatures today to require disclosure on genetically modified foods

Backers of an initiative to require disclosures of genetic alterations of commercially sold food say they’ll bring in signatures to state elections official today Initiative 522. (click here for full text) is an initiative to the Legislature, which means it would first go to the Legislature for possible adoption.

Tim Eyman, the professional initiative promoter, also is bringing in signatures this morning for I-517, which he says will protect the initiative process. A background story on it is here and the full text is here.

Friday is the

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