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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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When you just can’t decide … or don’t want to

The Spokesman-Review

When the political choices are all bad, state Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, wants you to be able to vote for “none of the above.”

Kristiansen says the change, which some county election officials don’t like because it would make ballots even bigger, would prevent some of the confusion seen in last year’s governor’s election. In that race, election officials had to judge many unclearly marked ballots, then “enhance” the marking beside the name of the person that voter apparently intended to vote for.

“If you choose ‘none of the above,’ no one can say your intent wasn’t clear,” Kristiansen said. House Bill 1363 is written so that “none of the above” can never win an election, he said.

Slander away

Strange but true: Under a 1909 law still in effect, it is a crime in Washington state to make a false or defamatory statement “about any female who is at least 12 years of age and who is not a common prostitute” if the statement “injures her reputation for virtue or chastity or exposes her to hatred, contempt or ridicule.”

Saying the law is archaic, an anachronism in contemporary society and probably unconstitutional, lawmakers have proposed Senate Bill 5148, which repeals the 1909 law.

At last, the protection goats deserve

Among the bills introduced this year: Senate Bill 5290, which amends first-degree theft of livestock to include goats. It’s a felony.

Already protected: horses, mules, cows, heifers, bulls, steers, swine and sheep.

Green around the middle

Washington’s Republicans for Environmental Protection on Wednesday presented the three Republican statewide elected officials with gifts intended to remind them that Republicans – think Theodore Roosevelt – can be wilderness conservationists.

The gifts: a green tie and cummerbund.

“Like a string around the finger, this gift will be a strong reminder that Republicans have a long legacy of leadership in preserving our natural resources,” said Washington chapter President Lunell Haught, of Spokane.

No legal Lorax here

“I want to claim the distinction on behalf of the Libertarian Party of killing the fewest trees.”

– Libertarian attorney Richard Shepard, speaking at the Wenatchee hearing challenging the governor’s election. Dozens of attorneys are working on the case, which already involves thousands of documents after just two weeks. The Libertarians haven’t filed any pleadings in the case, he said.

The hazards of pork

“Everyone loves you until the budget comes out and their project isn’t in it. Then you’ve got to start the car with the door open, so that the blast throws you out.”

– Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, who is in charge of the House construction budget, which hears requests for projects as varied as ball fields, local museums and college teaching complexes.

Speaking of the cops …

“We don’t want to have poor little Republicans going to jail. It’s sad.”

– State Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt, weighing in on whether the government should charge a man who voted his late wife’s ballot. One of her dying wishes, he’d explained, was to vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi.

Their man in Olympia

The Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce has hired an Olympia veteran, Jim Hedrick, to be Spokane’s voice in the Capitol. Lobbying’s not new for Hedrick, who was the “director of legislative affairs” – essentially, a lobbyist – for the state’s budget office.

Chamber priorities this session include advocating for business, health care, higher education, transportation and local construction projects.

Hedrick replaces Todd Mielke, the chamber’s lobbyist for the past six years. Mielke, a former state lawmaker, was recently elected as a Spokane County commissioner.

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