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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Mike Baumgartner

Sunday Spin: Checking out claims on a dog day afternoon

OLYMPIA – In these dog days of summer, things that would not get a second-look the rest of the year are tested for news viability under much lower July vacation standards in an effort to fill the paper.

Any other time, a press release from one candidate complaining that his opponent was lying about his stance on an issue would likely go straight to the delete file. Lying in campaigns is, after all, a time-honored political tradition constitutionally protected by the state Supreme Court.

But Democrat Rich Cowan’s complaint that Republican state Sen. Mike Baumgartner was lying about Cowan’s stance on a state income tax came with an interesting wager: If Baumgartner could prove Cowan supported a state income tax, he could plant one of his campaign signs in Cowan’s yard. . .

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

Should GU v. UW basketball game become law?

OLYMPIA — State law would make the Huskies play the Zags in basketball every year under a proposal introduced Tuesday by a Spokane senator.

Considering there’s barely time left int the legislative session to negotiate a budget, getting a vote in both chambers on the merits of forced resumption of the ‘Dawgs versus Bulldogs matchup is as likely as a No. 16 seed winning the NCAA tournament. But the bill’s sponsor, Republican Mike Baumgartner, said he wants to make emphasize the advantages of a statewide rivalry, which was popular with fans when the teams played between 1998 and 2007. . . 

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

…while Cougs’ Leach is in Senate

Mike Leach addresses state Senate.

OLYMPIA — The Washington Senate elevated the 1915 Cougar football team to the status of National Champion today, honoring the team that went undefeated and won the 1916 Rose Bowl. 

With current WSU Coach Mike Leach at the rostrum, the Senate passed a resolution honoring the 1915 team as the first West Coast team to win a Rose Bowl, beating Brown University 14-0. That victory “helped restore the nation's faith in college football and put an end to the practice of celebrating the Pasadena Tournament of Roses with events such as ostrich races, polo matches and chariot races, beginning the annual tradition of the Rose Bowl Football Championship”, the resolution said.

Technically, Cornell University was the national champion in 1915 — at least according to CollegeFootballPoll.com, which lists champions recognized by the NCAA. That team went 9-0, but didn't play in a bowl.

Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, acknowledged that the practice of naming a national champion didn't take hold for decades after the 1916 game, but for much of the last half century, any team that went undefeated AND won the Rose Bowl would have been declared the national champion.

Leach started his remarks by saying he watched “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” in preparation for his visit to the Senate chamber. “So I stay up here and talk until I collapse,” he said.

But he didn't. Leach thanked legislators for everything they do to support higher education and said he hoped “to put a team out that everybody can be proud of” in the fall.

Legislative town halls at the MAC today

The Museum of Arts and Culture will be a busy place this weekend for Spokane residents who want to ask their legislators what’s happening in Olympia.

As the 2014 session nears the two-thirds mark, legislators from the 3rd and 6th Districts have town hall meetings Saturday at the MAC, 2316 W. First Ave.

Democratic Sen. Andy Billig and Rep. Marcus Riccelli will have a meeting there from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Their district includes downtown, Browne’s Addition, the lower South Hill and neighborhoods as far north as Hillyard.

Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner, Reps. Kevin Parker and Jeff Holy will be in the same location from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Their district includes parts of northwest and south Spokane, the West Plains, Cheney and Airway Heights

Innovate WA on the chopping block

OLYMPIA – A state agency with roots in Spokane’s 1980s push to attract more high-tech jobs to the region would be eliminated under legislation approved this week by the House.

Innovate Washington would cease to exist and its Riverpoint building, leases on other office space in the area, reports and even furniture would be turned over to Washington State University under a bill that passed Thursday evening on an 88-9 vote… .

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

 

Tuition caps for state colleges rejected

OLYMPIA — An effort to put firm limits on future tuition hikes at state colleges and universities was scuttled Thursday as a key Senate committee replaced the idea with a task force that could make recommendations to the governor.

Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, proposed Senate Bill 6043, which would have required two- and four-year state colleges to have tuition no higher than 10 percent of the current average annual wage, and removed tuition setting authority from the schools. 

Members of the Senate Higher Education Committee said, however, that without a guarantee of more money from the state, the quality of education at the schools could suffer. “These are laudable goals, but it doesn't help students if they have lesser access and lesser quality,” Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, said.

An amendment by Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, rewrote the bill to set up an eight-member task force to study tuition increases and make its recommendations by Dec. 1. The title of the bill was changed to remove any reference to “establishing caps” before it was sent to the Ways and Means Committee on a 5-0 vote.

Sunday Spin: Right-to-work in the soviet of WA?

Somewhere in the great beyond, James “Big Jim” Farley is having a good day.

The former Tammany Hall boss and political strategist for Franklin Delano Roosevelt may have been pulled out of celestial poker game late last week when word drifted heavenward about a press release from state Sen. Mike Baumgartner. The Spokane Republican came up with a solution to the fix Washington could find itself in after Boeing’s union machinists voted down a contract extension that would have guaranteed the 777X be built in the state.

Call a special session to turn Washington into a “right-to-work” state, Baumgartner said.

Such a suggestion must’ve made Farley spit out his cigar, if smoking is allowed in whatever suburb of the afterlife old pols inhabit. . .

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

Right-to-work special session ‘not going to happen’

In the wake of the Boeing machinists’ rejection of a contract extension the company said would assure the 777X would be built in Washington, a Spokane legislator said the state needs to take a bold step to become more attractive to manufacturing.

Make Washington a “right-to-work” state, which would make union membership and its dues optional.

That would be part of making the state “a welcoming overall environment” with a lower possibility of strikes, Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner said. He wants Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session to consider and pass such legislation.

“That’s not going to happen,” a spokesman for Inslee said. Boeing never mentioned right-to-work legislation as something it was seeking to guarantee the plane would be built in Washington, David Postman said. . .

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

 

Baumgartner to hold meeting before session

Before heading to Olympia for the start of the special session, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner wants to hear from constituents. He's holding a “mobile office” session in Airway Heights on his way out of town.

“I want to answer questions and receive feedback about what is on the minds of the voters,” he said in a press release.

Baumgartner will be at the Buckhorn Inn, 13311 W. Sunset Highway, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday. That means he'll miss the official start of the session, which is scheduled to kick off at 9 a.m. But Thursday is expected to be “pro forma” in the chambers, so he won't miss much.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday afternoon that he was calling the Legislature into a special session on Thursday morning.

Cowan to challenge Baumgartner in 6th

The head of a local movie production company said he will challenge an incumbent senator in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District next year.

Democrat Rich Cowan, chief executive officer of North by Northwest, said Tuesday he will run against Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner, contending the incumbent’s views on some issues are too extreme for the district.

One of his main goals if elected, Cowan said, would be to find a way to complete the North Spokane Corridor, a roadway that has been discussed for more than a half century and under construction for more than a decade. . .

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

Baumgartner cancels potluck

OLYMPIA — Sen. Mike Baumgartner's annual Flag Day Potluck is the latest casualty of the Legislature's inability to get a budget. 

The potluck, scheduled for Friday at Comstock Park, was cancelled because Baumgartner can't attend. He's in Olympia with the other legislators (most of them anyway) with the second special session which began Wednesday.

Baumgartner said the food will go to the Union Gospel Mission.

Baumgartner bill: Check routes of oversized loads

OLYMPIA — The state Department of Transportation shouldn't let trucks with oversized loads on routes where the bridges are too small, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner said Thursday.

The Spokane Republican introduced a bill that would require the DOT to better label the height of state bridges, and refuse to issue permits to truckers whose oversized loads aren't going to fit through bridges that are too low or too narrow. It's a response to the collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River, which fell after being struck by an oversized load.

This wasn't the first time the Skagit River bridge was struck by an oversized load, Baumgartner said. The solution to the problem is not more transportation taxes to fix bridges, but better oversight so trucks aren't allowed on bridges that are too small.

Mugging for the crowd

 

Sens. Mike Baumgartner, left and Doug Ericksen hold beer steins while addressing a demonstration against the a new tax on microbreweries. The mugs were empty.

Beer and wine at the movies moves forward

Sen. Andy Billig argues in favor of allowing small theaters to serve beer and wine.

OLYMPIA — Small theaters would be able to sell beer and wine during movies under a bill that narrowly passed the Senate today.

Over objections from some senators that it represents a further “desensitization” of the dangers of alcohol, House Bill 1001 passed 27-21 and was sent back to the House to approve one change that did pass the Senate: The new rule is limited to theaters that have four or fewer screens.

Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, said the change in state law would provide a bit of commercial help for neighborhood movie houses like North Spokane's Garland Theater, that are struggling to compete with the large multiplexes. It allows them to sell a glass of wine or beer to adults to take into the theater, even when children are present in the room. Theaters who receive a license to serve beer and wine from the state Liquor Control Board must have plans to ensure minors aren't served and face double the fines for violations that a bar would receive.

Sen. Jeanne Darnielle, D-Tacoma, said the bill doesn't have enough accountability, and the state doesn't need to expand places where alcohol can be served: “We're just in a race to decide (alcohol) is not a health problem. We begin to think it's all right, that it doesn't have more consequences.”

Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, said he rarely drinks but beleives the bill represents one of the few areas where he thought the state could be more liberal. “It's a step toward moving our culture to being more comfortable with these issues.” 

The bill now goes back to the House for agreement on an amendment that limited the number of screens a theater can have to four to be eligible for the license. Multiplexes are currently able to sell beer and wine with a special license in a theater that's restricted to adults.

6th District call-in tonight

Sen. Mike Baumgartner and Rep. Jeff Holy, two Republicans who represent Spokane's 6th Legislative District, are holding a town hall meeting by phone this evening.

The session will feature a live poll of those on the line and a chance to ask questions of the legislators.

The one-hour session begins at 7 p.m. to those who call 1-877-229-8493 and enter the ID number 17921. 

Sunday Spin2: Detours on the budget debate

Friday’s four-hour budget debate in the Senate was mostly about programs that get cut or taxes that don’t get raised. But there were brief detours into other topics, including cigar lounges and Spokane Indians baseball. . .

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

WA Lege: Yay for the Lilac Festival

Lilac Queen Brett Rountree addresses the state Senate.

OLYMPIA — The Senate and House took a not too controversial stance this morning, passing resolutions in support of the Spokane Lilac Festival and it's 75-year anniversary.

With Lilac Queen Brett Rountree of Central Valley High School on the rostrum and the rest of the court in the gallery,  the Senate approved Resolution 8646, which recounts some of the history of the festival and explains some of the projects the groups behind it support.

“In general, it's a celebration of awesomeness,” Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane and the resolution's prime sponsor, said.

Added Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane: “It's one of those things that make Spokane better every year.”

A few minutes later, the House also voiced support for the festival. 

Legislative town hall meetings in Spokane

Spokane-area residents will have chances to ask their legislators what’s going on in Olympia this weekend at several town hall meetings scheduled for Saturday.

Sen. Andy Billig, Reps. Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli, all Democrats from central Spokane’s 3rd District, have a 10 a.m. meeting at Shadle Park High School Auditorium, 4327 N. Ash, and a 2 p.m. meeting at Emmanuel Family Life Center, 631 S. Richard Allen Ct.

Sen. Mike Baumgartner, Reps. Kevin Parker and Jeff Holy, Republicans from northwest and south Spokane’s 6th District, have a 10 a.m. meeting at Lincoln Heights Elementary School, 3322 E. 22nd Ave.  

Not sure what legislative district you're in? For a detailed map of Spokane-area legislative districts, click here.

Baumgartner: Cut 4 Sup Court judges

OLYMPIA — The state should reduce its Supreme Court by four members to save money, Sen. Mike Baumgartner says.

In a bill introduced today with two Republican colleagues, the Spokane legislator said the state could save as much as $2 million a year by reducing the court to five members.

In what might be considered a bit of pique over last week's decision overturning the two-thirds majority requirement for tax increases, Baumgartner said the reduction would also be in line with the court's admonition against adding requirements to clear constitutional mandates.

“The constitution clearly says that the Supreme Court shall consist of five judges,” he said in a prepared statement.

That's a reference to Article IV, Section 2, but only part of that section. The whole section says: 

The supreme court shall consist of five judges, a majority of whom shall be necessary to form a quorum, and pronounce a decision. The said court shall always be open for the transaction of business except on nonjudicial days. In the determination of causes all decisions of the court shall be given in writing and the grounds of the decision shall be stated. The legislature may increase the number of judges of the supreme court from time to time and may provide for separate departments of said court.

Over time, the Legislature did increase the number of judges to the current nine.

As to how to decide which justices would stay and which would go, Baumgartner's bill suggests they draw lots. 

“Based on their recent rulings on McCleary (requiring the state spend more to improve public schools) and their rationale behind the decision to throw out the will of the people regarding the two-thirds tax rule, I expect the court will support this approach,” he said in a prepared statement. If not, they can lobby for a constitutional amendment.

The bill is introduced so late in session that deadlines for new bills have passed and it has almost no chance of passing. But it could get a hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Chairman Mike Padden said, if a case can be made that the bill is necessary to implement the budget.

A House committee held a hearing this morning on a bill to abolish capital punishment, in part on a claim that such a change would affect the budget by saving money on the costly appeals for death row inmates, Padden said.

Baumgartner town halls today

State Sen. Mike Baumgartner returns to Spokane today for a pair of town hall meetings.

He has a 10 a.m. session at the Cheney Middle School, 740 W. Betz Road.

and a 2 p.m. session at the Museum of Arts and Culture in Browne's Addition, 2316 W. First.

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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.

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