Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 25° Cloudy

Tag search results

Tags let us describe our content with keywords, making it easier to find what you're most interested in. Use the search box to look for tags, or explore our coverage with the lists below.

Spin Control: Washington could benefit from ballot measure boom

OLYMPIA – Washington is developing into THE PLACE for interest groups of every political stripe to try out their ballot initiative. From gun control to same-sex marriage to legalized marijuana, national organizations have decided they love a state big enough to test out their legislation on a diverse population, but small enough to have relatively few media markets (the term campaign types use for cities) and relatively affordable ad rates.

Spin Control: Budget negotiators follow silly policy

OLYMPIA – Among the bromides passed off as great wisdom during this special session of the Legislature is that budget negotiators should not – nay, absolutely must not, and therefore do not – negotiate a budget in the media. This has been mentioned at various times by all players, from the governor to the leadership of the Senate and House to the negotiators themselves as though the admonition were cast in stone, or at least referenced through an asterisk on the tablets Moses brought down from Sinai and clear for anyone who read the next few verses in Deuteronomy.

Spin Control: Budget impasse doesn’t spell doom

OLYMPIA – Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. So it’s not surprising that into the vacuum that is the Legislature’s special session – where the most special thing about it to date may be that so little has been done – those with nothing to do are pouring predictions of disasters lurking beyond the horizon.

Spin Control: Same old budget battle story

OLYMPIA – The Legislature returns to town Monday in search of a compromise on a two-year operating budget that keeps the state in the black, uses relatively few accounting gimmicks, may or may not raise taxes and doesn’t get them hauled into court on a case they can’t win. If those lines give you a sense of déjà vu, it’s probably because the same thing could have been written about the start of every regular session and special session since 2010.

Spin Control: GOP rhetoric can’t derail Democrats’ tax loophole closer

OLYMPIA – There is an axiom in legislating, that when you have the votes to pass something, you shut up and cast them. When you don’t have the votes, you talk. A corollary to that in this year’s legislative session seems to be that when you don’t have the votes, you offer up comments as quotable as possible. When you have the votes, you don’t need to be pithy or clever; you speak as little as possible and cast them.

Spin Control: Cutoff threat creates drama in Legislature

OLYMPIA – The Legislature has a variety of deadlines designed to winnow the thousands of bills introduced in any given session to a few hundred that actually require everyone to cast a vote. These deadlines, known as cutoffs, generally require a bill to prove it has enough support to move to the next step: get out of a committee, win a vote in the chamber where it was introduced, get out of a committee in the other chamber, and so on.

Spin Control: LaHood unable to bridge partisan divide

OLYMPIA – When a federal Cabinet secretary stopped by the Capitol last week, trying to prod the Legislature into action on a big multistate project, he got a warm welcome from Gov. Jay Inslee. Not so much from Senate Republicans. So what would one expect for a member of a Democratic president’s administration, you might be thinking. Considering it was Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, some folks were expecting something a bit more politic.

Kitchen-table analogy oversimplifies budgetary process

OLYMPIA – It is a rare day during the session when some legislator doesn’t offer the folksy wisdom that the state should just balance its budget like the folks back home. Sometimes, the “folks” are mom and pop entrepreneurs on Main Street, struggling to make payroll as sales drop and the costs rise. They tighten their belts, take a smaller profit, lay off a worker or two, have a few more go to part time, maybe buy a smaller ad in the local high school yearbook.

Spin Control: Gardner’s humor always helped him

Booth Gardner seemed an unlikely choice for governor when he first hit the campaign trail as “Booth Who?” in 1984. The Pierce County executive and former legislator wasn’t a complete political novice, but he was an unknown in Eastern Washington and much of the state. He was a Weyerhaeuser heir, which meant he had money. But that wasn’t strictly an advantage in the beginning – at least not with some entrenched Spokane Democrats backing Jim McDermott, the more liberal Seattle legislator spoiling for a rematch with Republican Gov. John Spellman. How can a millionaire be a Democrat, one longtime 3rd District legislator huffed at a McDermott fundraiser in north Spokane, conveniently forgetting names like Roosevelt and Kennedy.

Spin Control: Clearing the brush on what’s bipartisan

OLYMPIA – As the Legislature passed a key deadline last week, the “bi” word was thrown around quite a bit. Bipartisan. The problem was that bipartisan seems to mean different things to different people. For the 23 Republicans and two disaffected Democrats running the Senate, bipartisanship seems to be defined by the number of bills sponsored by members of the 24 minority Democrats that passed the chamber.

Spin Control: Late-session inanity comes from both sides

OLYMPIA – As the Legislature passed the halfway mark in the 2013 session last week, some members started to show signs of too much time in the damp, gray environs of the South Puget Sound. Or maybe just too much time in close proximity to each other. Whatever the reason, we saw a rise in legislation introduced for no reason other than to make political points.

Spin Control: Explaining Hanford takes pivot to hoops

OLYMPIA – As most of official Olympia stared at their computers Thursday morning awaiting the state Supremes’ decision on tax supermajorities, a handful of legislators got a briefing on something with the potential for far more impact on the state. Jane Hedges of the state Department of Ecology explained the intricacies of nuclear waste tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, doing her best to calm the uproar over recent news that six supposedly stable tanks are, in fact, leaking.

Spin Control: Gun legislation facing uncertain Capitol future

OLYMPIA – The massacre of first-graders and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut may result in some major national gun-control legislation this year. Too soon to tell. But it may also block some smaller gun-related legislation in Washington state. At least that’s what several Senate Democrats contended Friday afternoon after an unusual meeting of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Spin Control: Naming rights could bring money

OLYMPIA – Legislators are considering – not too seriously, it seems – a plan to allow the state to sell the naming rights to its many roads, bridges, tunnels, buildings and other facilities. Should it pass, Spokane residents might at some future date drive east on the Avista Interstate, cross the Microsoft Bridge over Lake Washington, take an exit onto the Starbucks Expressway, grab the REI exit ramp to the Nordstrom Terminal, then catch the Ivar’s Acres of Clams ferry for points west.

Spin Control: Abortion bill’s absence frustrates open debate

OLYMPIA – The claim by “coalition” senators that their regime ushers in an era of more open debate managed to stub its toe last week on one of the Legislature’s oldest and most divisive issues: abortion. Shortly before the Senate Law and Justice Committee held a two-hour hearing last Wednesday on a bill requiring parental notification of any abortion on a woman younger than 18, Majority Leader Rodney Tom described it as a sign the coalition was open to discussing new ideas, or ones that had long been “bottled up” by the Democratic-controlled chamber.

Spin Control: Wet behind the ears on poll tax claim

OLYMPIA – A wise old pol once explained why changing the election system is difficult: The people who must agree to make the change all got their jobs through the current system; and having won at least one election, they all consider themselves experts in how the system should work. That may explain why legislators each year consider a myriad of election changes, but rarely approve any of substance. Last week found various committees in the midst of such discussions, considering whether counties should be required to put out more drop boxes, the deadline for ballots to arrive in the mail should be moved up, or the state should change the way it divvies up its Electoral College votes. Too early to tell how most will fare, but all face a bumpy road.

Spin Control: Lobbying season kicks off in Olympia

OLYMPIA – There may be things for which the Spokane area reasonably envies other communities around the state, but lobbying the Legislature for a list of collective hopes and dreams is not one of them. For more than 20 years, a contingent from Spokane and surrounding communities has made an annual pilgrimage to the state’s mecca of politics and policy. Members of the Greater Spokane Incorporated fly-in arrive, list of priorities in hand, and generally present a united front as they remind those controlling the spigots of state funding, “Hey, we’re still over there.”

Spin Control: Inslee, GOP hardly exchanging bouquets in early jousting

OLYMPIA – The start of a new Legislature with a new administration is much given over to pomp and ceremony, so it wasn’t too surprising that most of the players aren’t yet bringing their A game when it comes to rhetoric. Still, there were troubling signs that we’re all in for a long, hard slog if the level of debate doesn’t improve at some point soon.

Spin Control: Area’s delegation sees dropoff in experience

OLYMPIA – When the Legislature opens Monday, Spokane will be in a demonstrably different position than in recent years. The years of experience among the area’s delegation will be almost half what it was four years ago, and it will have no one in a top leadership spot in either chamber.