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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Joel Kretz

Telephone town hall tonight in 7th Lege District

The 7th Legislative District's delegation is the most recent group to schedule a telephone town hall meeting. They'll be phoning in tonight.

The district's three Republicans, Sen. Brian Dansel of Republic, and Reps. Joel Kretz, Wauconda, and Shelly Short, Addy, will be on the line starting at 7 p.m. Constituents can call 1-877-229-8493 and enter  112381 when prompted.

Inslee: Do more hard things. GOP: Be more specific.

OLYMPIAWashington should raise its minimum wage, spend more on schools and highways, raise teacher salaries and do something about climate change, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

“We have done hard things. And we can do more,” the Democratic governor told a joint legislative session in his annual state of the state address.

Legislative Republicans and a Democrat who joined them to form the Senates ruling coalition were quick to criticize the speech as long on ideas but short on specifics. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog. 

 

Wolf control rules expected Friday

OLYMPIA – New rules for dealing with wolf attacks on livestock and domestic animals, which seemed stalled in the Legislature, may be announced as early as today a result of action by key legislators and a state commission.

Today, the House gave final approval to a bill that adds $10 to the cost of certain specialty license plates to provide money for non-lethal methods to control the growing gray wolf populations in Eastern Washington. After being pulled out of committee by a special parliamentary maneuver, it passed unanimously.

Friday, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider rules that would allow residents to kill a wolf that is attacking livestock or pets. The rules are expected to be similar to the provisions of a separate bill that generated hot debate between rural Republican legislators from Eastern Washington and their urban Democratic counterparts. It narrowly passed the Senate but stalled in the House.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

DeBolt steps down as House GOP leader

OLYMPIA — Citing health concerns, Rep. Richard DeBolt said today he is stepping down as House Republican leader.

DeBolt, a Chehalis resident first elected in 1996, suffered an unspecified health emergency on the evening of April 10 at his home, a statement from the House Republican caucus said. He has been excused from the legislative action since then, including a vote on the House operating budget last Friday.

He  said he experienced similar health problems two years ago and was advised at that time by his doctor to step down from his leadership post.

“I didn't take that advice and a should have,” he said in the statement.  two years ago, but didn't, the statement said . “Sometimes people take their health for granted and feel invincible, but then they are confronted with reality.”

DeBolt will finish out his two-year term, the statement said. Deputy Minority Leader Joel Kretz of Wauconda, is serving as leader until the Republican caucus has a formal reorganization.

WA Lege Day 5: Kretz would share the wolves

OLYMPIA — Rep. Joel Kretz made good today on his promise to help Western Washington enjoy one of the “advantages” Eastern Washington has — wolves.

Kretz, R-Wauconda, introduced a bill that would allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to “translocate” wolves that are captured in Eastern Washington to the other side of the state. Wolves are a protected species under state law, and seven or eight of the state's nine recognized packs are in his northeastern Washington district.

“If wolves are so wonderful, I don't think we should be hoarding them in my district,” Kretz said.

Under his proposal, captured wolves could be sent to anywhere that has at least 50 square miles of territory, the amount needed for an adult wolf to roam. That would include some islands in the Puget Sound, and the Olympic Peninsula.  That would allow the entire state to “enjoy the re-establishment of this majestic species.”

The department does not currently relocate captured wolves out of their territory, although it does tag or put radio collars on some before releasing them.

He said he asked for co-sponsors from some Western Washington legislators but didn't get any takers.

The bill may never get a hearing, and is a facetious attempt to make a point for another bill Kretz expects to introduce in the next week. That bill would allow the state to take wolves off its endangered species list in Eastern Washington, a step the federal government has already taken, he said. That would allow ranchers to kill wolves attacking livestock or pets, and possibly lay the groundwork for regulated hunting.  

5 seeking 7th District Senate seat

A county commissioner, a former legislator and a former legislative aide are among five applicants so far for an open state Senate seat in Northeastern Washington’s 7th District.

The seat becomes open Jan. 1 when Sen. Bob Morton, a 22-year veteran legislator, retires halfway through his term. Republican precinct committee officers in the district will nominate as many as three possible replacement to the county commissioners from Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan counties, who must choose one through a majority vote.

The district’s two state representatives, Republicans Joel Kretz and Shelly Short have said they won’t seek the Senate position.

Applicants can seek the office up to the time precinct officers meet on Dec. 15 in Colville. At this point, GOP officials said they knew of five actively seeking the job

To read about the applicants, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Short won’t seek Senate seat

OLYMPIA — Rep. Shelly Short said this evening she will not seek the state Senate seat that will become open on Jan. 1 with the retirement of Bob Morton.

Morton, a 22-year veteran of the Legislature, announced last week that he would retire halfway through his current term. His position will be filled through a process that takes as many as three nominations from Republican precinct committee officers in northeast Washington's 7th Legislative District, and a majority vote by commissioners of the five counties in the district.

Short, who was just elected to her third House term in November, said she wants to remain in that chamber and continue her work on issues involving energy, the environment and natural resources: “It's important to keep that continuity.” 

Conversations she has had over the last several days convinced her there are good candidates in the district interested in the Senate seat.

Rep. Joel Kretz, the district's senior House member, previously said he would not seek the seat. 

Kretz won’t seek Senate seat, Short might

OLYMPIA — State Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda will not seek the 7th District Senate seat being vacated by Bob Morton, but seatmate Shelly Short said she is considering it.

Morton announced this week that he will retire at the end of this year, leaving two years on his term. . . 

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog. 

A dam good bill with some teeth in it

OLYMPIA — Beavers making a nuisance of themselves in Western Washington could be relocated to Eastern Washington areas that need their help in damming streams, but the furry critters from Eastern Washington couldn't be shipped west under a bill approved Wednesday by the Senate.

Seems there's already too many of the tree-chomping mammals west of the Cascades.

The proposal, described by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, as a “cute, furry little bill,” allows the Department of Fish and Wildlife to set up a system in which a landowner who wants to improve groundwater or downstream flows can request beavers being captured elsewhere and removed from land where they are creating a nuisance. It also provided several legislators some much-needed work on their joke delivery.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Hound-hunting deal in the works

OLYMPIA – These adolescent males can be trouble. They wander around, get into fights on hostile turf, bother hard-working people just trying to make a living.
The experts don’t always agree on the best way to handle these problem teens. Should we hunt them down with dogs, and shoot more of them or less?
Oh, did you think we were talking about teenage boys? No, this group of adolescent males belong to the species puma concolor, also known as cougars, whose potential for increased confrontation with humans has for years been a point of contention between advocates of hound-hunting and its opponents.
An agreement struck this week between a major environmental group and an Eastern Washington legislator could be a truce in the long-running fight over hunting cougars with dogs, and lead to better state management of the big cats that some see as an icon of the West and others see as a hazard to people and livestock…


Read more about it, or comment, by clicking here.

Growth Management: Should counties be allowed out?

OLYMPIA – The state's environmental community is fighting a plan to allow four lightly populated Eastern Washington counties to opt out of the Growth Management Act.
But in trying to generate opposition to the proposed change, the group Futurewise seriously overstated the impact that law has on Ferry County, one of four that would be allowed to drop the law under HB 1094 .
 GMA is protecting nearly three-quarters of a million acres of farmland in Ferry County, keeping it from being “paved over,” the Seattle-based organization claimed in a recent website posting and a separate appeal for funds.
“In Washington, it’s far too easy to pave over farmland if it’s not designated as such,” the group said on its website. “That’s why we were fighting so hard to get the county to property designate and protect the best of the county’s 749,452 acres of land in farms and ranching.”
Wait a minute, said Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, sponsor of the bill. There aren't 750,000 acres of farmland – or any other kind of land – subject to GMA in Ferry County…
  

To read the rest of this post or to comment, go inside the blog.
  

E. Washington gets several GOP leadership spots

OLYMPIA — Members of the Eastern Washington legislative delegation were chosen for several Republican leadership spots today.

Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda, whose 7th District stretches from Okanogan County to northwestern Spokane, was reappointed to the No. 2 spot, deputy leader of the House GOP caucus.  (Fact check: Earlier version of this post had Kretz in the 9th.)

Reps. Kevin Parker of Spokane and Matt Shea of Spokane Valley were named assistant floor leaders.

The top House spot, House Republican leader, went to Rep. Richard DeBolt of Chehalis.

On the Senate side, Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla was re-elected Republican leader. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville was re-elected Republican floor leader.

Boundary Dam bill advances

OLYMPIA – One of this session’s David vs. Goliath matches involves Pend Oreille County in the role of the shepherd with the slingshot, and Seattle City Light, starring as the over-sized  Philistine.

The utility may take issue with the characterization, but few other people would have objected Thursday during the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee hearing, which passed along a bill designed to solve the long-standing dispute between the two over the Boundary Dam.

The city utility owns the dam, built in the 1950s, and uses much of the electricity to keep the lights on, the homes warm, the stores and coffee houses open in Seattle. It also sells the excess power, at a good rate, to other users across the West.

It doesn’t pay local taxes, but instead pays a negotiated impact fee to the county for the dam. When the latest 10-year contract on those fees expired in 2008, negotiations over the next 10-year agreement broke down. Pend Oreille County thought they should be considerably higher; Seattle City Light disagreed.

The Legislature held off jumping into the dispute last year, but it dragged on for 2009, and Pend Oreille County was sorely missing those payments. $1.3 million is not chump change in a place with high unemployment and underemployment. This year, Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, dropped a bill that ordered a utility of a city with more than 500,000 people (read: Seattle) that has a dam in another county (as in Pend Oreille)  to negotiate impact payments, keep making payments set up under an old contract while negotiating a new one, and pay the cost of arbitration if negotiations break down.

Considering that there are considerably more legislators who represent Seattle than Pend Oreille, and Democrats control both houses, one might have thought Republican Kretz’s bill had about as much chance as the Jamaican bobsled team getting the gold. But no…

To read more, go inside the blog

Phoning it in

State legislators like to make it back to the district from Olympia during the session to talk to the “real folks” with things like town hall meetings. With the crush of business this year, that’s difficult.

When one’s district is Northeastern Washington’s 7th, there’s another problem. The folks are so far flung — from Metaline to Tonasket to Odessa to Republic to Deer Park — that finding the right town to book the hall is difficult.

Reps. Joel Kretz and Shelly Short are trying to get around this by having a telephonic town hall meeting. Think of it as a big party line (you remember party lines, right? OK, if you’re younger than about 50, probably not).  You dial in and can listen and talk.

They’re going to try this at 7 p.m. on April 16. To participate, one needs to call 1-877-229-8493, then enter the password number of 14789. They hope it will work like a call-in radio show.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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