45th district Dems give priority preview

At the state 45th Legislative District’s first meeting of 2018 on Wednesday night, Democrats took time to review some issues left unresolved after last year’s session in Olympia and looked toward this year’s.

The 45th was a key race in this year’s special election. With Democratic Sen. Manka Dhingra’s win in the district, both the Washington state House of Representatives and Senate came under the party’s control.

State Rep. Roger Goodman addressed the crowd at Horace Mann Elementary in Redmond with policies he would like to see passed in 2018, a shorter session than last year’s.

First, Goodman said he will be pushing to pass a the capital budget, which finances infrastructure projects.

Democrats have a one-vote majority in the Senate, which is enough to pass the budget, but a 60 percent approval is needed to issue bonds to fund the projects in the budget, Goodman said.

This presents a problem for Democrats who are locked in a battle with Republicans over a state Supreme Court decision known as the Hirst Decision.

The Hirst Decision essentially forces counties to take on the responsibility of issuing permits for wells, a function that the state formerly oversaw. Many rural counties argue they don’t have the resources to do this, which has impacted the creation of wells in parts of the state outside Puget Sound.

Republicans refused to pass the capital budget last year without action to undermine the court decision, and Goodman said they will likely block the issuance of bonds even if the budget is passed this year.

Goodman also hopes to address gender and race equity, expand voting rights and enforce reproductive rights.

While he would like a carbon tax, he said the votes likely aren’t there for it.

Similarly, while he said he supports single-payer health care, he doubts there will be enough support in the Legislature to pursue it in Washington state.

In criminal justice reform, Goodman hopes to offer a bill to create a commission to examine widespread reform in the state.

This commission would look at ways to reform the justice system from sentencing calculations, to how juveniles are treated and possibly police use of force.

“I’ve been waiting 20 years for this,” he said.

John Stafford, a speaker at the meeting who keeps an eye on the Legislature for the party, said he hopes to see a change in the way police killings are handled. The state requires that prosecutors prove malice when trying to convict a killer, a higher burden of proof than most states.

The Legislature convenes on Jan. 8 for a scheduled 60-day session. Last year, the Legislature went into three special sessions for the longest session in state history at 195 days.

More in News

Tips for staying safe around Washington wildlife

In the wake of a deadly cougar attack near North Bend here’s some tips on staying safe.

Roza Irrigation District manager Scott Revell inspects a water gauge in the lower Yakima Valley. If a drought pump is installed in Kachess Lake it would mean a more reliable source of water for crops in the valley. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo
Puget Sound residents worried about Kachess Lake plan

A pump to supply much-needed water to Eastern Washington during droughts could affect recreation.

Candidates file for state, federal office

Twenty-nine candidates are challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Bastyr University appoints Harlan Patterson as new president

Patterson stepped into the office as interim president following Dr. Powell’s leave last July.

This petroleum refinery in Anacortes is run by Shell, one of the defendants in the suit brought by King County. Photo by Walter Siegmund/Wikipedia Commons
Can King County win its lawsuit against Big Oil?

Legal experts think past lawsuits against the tobacco industry increase the odds of a favorable outcome.

Governor and Secretary of State to fund statewide prepaid ballot postage

King County, however, won’t get any of that money.

Low numbers of Lake Sammamish kokanee raise fears of extinction

Only 19 kokanee salmon returned to spawn this year.

Eastside environmentalists turn up the heat on climate change

Residents are concerned about King County not meeting its greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Foster care homes needed as more children affected by opioid crisis

May is national Foster Care Awareness Month.

Most Read