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Spin Control

Posts tagged: opening day

WA Lege Day 1:Session opens at noon

Gov. Jay Inslee talks with TVW's Anita Kissee before the session starts.

OLYMPIA — The Legislature returns to the Capitol for its 2014 session with caucuses in the morning and formal opening at noon.

Opening days are often light on substance other than opening speeches. But House Democrats say they will hold a vote this afternoon on one of the potential hot spots of the session, the so-called DREAM Act which would extend certain state college assistance programs to the children of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as youngsters, were raised here and graduated from Washington high schools.

There's also a tentatively scheduled hearing on another hot topic, the Reproductive Parity Act, in the House Healthcare and Wellness Committee at 1:30 p.m.


WA Spec Session: They’re back. Sort of

OLYMPIA — The special session of the Legislature began officially at 9 a.m. with a flurry of inactivity. The House passed a few resolutions and adjourned until Tuesday morning. The Senate went at ease until the afternoon, when Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said enough members would be present to do opening day business like passing the resolutions to get things moving.

Update: At 1 p.m. they managed a quorum, a prayer, and the resolutions from the House that essentially keep all the bills that were introduced in the regular session but not passed in the chamber where they started, at the highest level they reached before sine die.

Total time elapsed: 6 minutes before they adjourned until Wednesday.

So no action on the floor this morning, but there was a floor show  of sort in the Rotunda, where the North Klackamas (Oregon) Christian School choir was performing acapella. The accoustics are quite good under the dome, and lots of musical groups stop by to sing or play instruments.

Some of the hymns they sang only confirmed the deeply held beliefs of the press corps that we are all in limbo — we can hear the music of heaven but aren't allowed to get there. Also appropriate was their rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.

Wimoweh, wimoweh. The lege, it sleeps right now.   

A close look at the House reader board in the above photo might cause some people to worry where it says “the first special session” — as though the Legislature is preparing for multiple special sessions, rolling on as far as the eye can see. 

Not necessarily. That's just how they officially describe things.

WA Lege Day 1: GOP dominated coalition wins control of Senate

Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, makes a point during today's debate over new Senate rules.

OLYMPIA — With a Republican-dominated coalition in control of the Senate, bills involving abortion rights, environmental protection and gun control may have little chance of coming to votes in that chamber, minority Democrats said Monday.

As expected, a coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats seized control of the Senate during Monday’s opening session, passing their rules for shared governance over a rival plan by the chamber's 24 other Democrats.

“We will concentrate more on policy than politics,” Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said.

The new rules mean unprecedented level of power was being offered to share power in the chamber, coalition members said. Minority Democrats countered the new lineup means some legislation they think a majority of state voters would support won’t even get hearings. . .

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WA Lege Day 1:Underway on time

Members of the WSP honor guard prepare in the wings of the state Senate before opening ceremonies.

OLYMPIA — With the sides flipped between Republicans and Democrats on the floor of the Senate, the Legislature got underway at noon today with the usual pomp and circumstances:

Washington State Patrol honor guard to bring in the flag.

An acapella group to sing the National Anthem.

Greetings from the Lake Fair Queen.

There was more activity than normal on that floor before noon, as Republicans moved to the left side of the floor and Democrats to the right (that is, as one looks in from the doorway or down from the gallery). By tradition, the majority sits on the left,( or president's right) just outside the offices of the Majority Leader, and the minority sits on the other side.That required the changing of name plates and cleaning of desks by maintenance staff, who finished their tasks with just minutes to spare.

The chambers now go about the procedural task of swearing in new members.

WA Lege Day 1: More than just routine

OLYMPIA — The Legislature opens at noon today with more than the usual amount of interest in a small thing, the approval of rules.

This is expected to be when we find out if the “Coalition Caucus,” a grouping of the chamber's 23 Republicans and two disaffected Democrats, hold together to become the majority and control things like rules and committee appointments.

Over in the House, things will almost certainly be less dramatic. Also starting at noon, House members will be sworn in and cast their votes for leadership. Democrat Frank Chopp of Seattle is a shoo-in to be re-elected speaker and he's scheduled to address the chamber about 12:30 p.m.

Don't expect a long speech. the House Finance Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. to get an update on the revenue forecast and tax ideas in Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposal. The House Appropriations Committee has a 3:30 p.m. meeting to hear about the spending portion of Gregoire's budget.   

WA Lege Day 1: Baumgartner sworn in


State Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers congratulates Mike Baumgartner after swearing him in Monday.

OLYMPIA — With much less drama than Senator-elect Nick Harper's swearing in, Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane's 6th District took the oath of office on the opening day of the session

WA Lege Day 1: Motion to block Harper fails

OLYMPIA — An initial effort to keep a Snohomish County senator-elect from being seated in the Senate failed Monday afternoon as a parliamentary procedure failed on a 23-18 vote.

Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, tried to keep all newly-elected senators from being sworn in while the Senate considered a motion not to seat Nick Harper, who easily bested a Republican challenger in a Democratic leaning district. The real controversy goes back to the primary, when incumbent Sen. Jean Berkey was eased out of the Top Two system by a shadow campaign waged by Moxie Media.

The Public Disclosure Commission has recommended criminal prosecution against Moxie for gathering campaign funds and deliberately hiding their source. That's not enough, Kastama said: “They will pay a fine. It will be the cost of doing business…If not now when. When is bad enough.”

But Sen. Tracey Eide said while Moxie's actions were “deplorable”, Harper isn't responsible. “Being blamed for something that a thrid party is done is wrong…It is like blaming your child for something the neighbor kid did.”

Kastama's motion failed, and Harper was sworn in at 1:35 p.m. Any further efforts to undo the election will bump up against the fact that he's duly elected and seated.

Lege opens to an interesting tune

OLYMPIA — Washington's Legislature is staring  up its engines today with all 49 senators and 98 representatives getting sworn in.

The anticipated skirmish over Nick Harper taking his Senate seat in Snohomish County's 38th District won't come up for a while, as each newly elected or newly re-elected senator gets sworn in separately in the upper chamber, and the newbies go last

One bit of trivia: The Washington State Patrol Color Guard brought the flag into the Senate chamber to the strains of a bagpiper. On the way out, the piper played: “Garry Owen”, which is a catchy tune 

It may be best know as the unofficial theme song of Custer's 7th Cavalry. Or at least it was before the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Maybe it's appropriate for the upcoming budget battles.

WA Lege Day 1: Pomp. Circumstances. Fireworks?

OLYMPIA — Washington's 105-day legislative session formally gets underway at noon, with the official and officious opening ceremonies in each chamber.

It's the time for swearing in. Simple swearing to come later.

One potential glitch in the Senate involves the swearing in of Nick Harper of Snohomish County's 38th District. There's a dispute over the primary election, in which incumbent Sen. Jean Berkey was edged out in the three-way race thanks to some surreptitious support of Republican Rod Rieger, funnelled into the campaign by Moxie Media.

Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, has a resolution not to seat Harper. Nothing personal against Harper, Kastama says; just trying to stick up for good, honest elections.

Harper, who had nothing to do with Moxie's maneuvering, calls the resolution “insulting and damaging” to the voters of the 38th, because it leaves them without a representative.

Usually, the seating of recently elected senators and representatives is pro forma, although there are a few historic case in which the Legislature has refused to seat, or at least delayed seating, someone elected in the previous election.

Not to read too much into the tea leaves, but the official Senate roster on the legislative web site, lists Harper, but the Senate Democratic Caucus website still lists Berkey…but then it also lists Spokane's Chris Marr and some of the others who lost in last year's election. It's likely the caucus web gurus have been busy with other stuff.

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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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