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Morning Wire: Gun hearings, JT Wilcox, Madeline Shannon

Week two of the session is underway. Our first session cut off is a mere 17 days away, so hearings are moving briskly. If a bill doesn’t get a hearing by the end of next week, chances are slim it’ll move this session as committees move to executive sessions almost entirely in the first week of February.

This week, we cover some of the hearings, and some of the personalities that are shaping (and covering) Washington State politics.

With help from Michael Goldberg & Madeline Shannon

1. Why JT Wilcox is good for the legislature

With the impeachment kicking off in Washington DC today in earnest, I think it’s useful to highlight the constructive nature of our politics and process back home in Washington State. To that end, I argue JT Wilcox is as thoughtful and as constructive as any partisan leader our state has had in some time.

He’s also unique in that he takes something of a post-partisan approach to caucus leadership. We saw that with Matt Manweller and his resignation. We saw that with Matt Shea and his loss of his leadership position in 2018. And, we see the results in the threats he receives from his right.

If you want to have good institutions and good process, thinking they create good civics and good politics, JT Wilcox is good to have in Olympia leadership.

2. Podcast: A Conversation with Kan Qiu

Here’s what you should know about Kan Qiu: he was a protestor, staring down tanks, in Tianenman Square in 1989. How many of those courageous souls have you met? I’ve just met one, Kan.

Many of those students went to jail. Kan came to the US. Thirty years later, Qiu helped lead the Washington Asians for Equality coalition in its successful referendum to overturn I-1000, retaining the illegality of affirmative action in state hiring or admissions.

In our latest Wire Podcast, I spoke with Kan Qiu to discuss his campaign, the implications of his movement, and what it might mean for the future of Washington State politics. 

3. More action on gun legislation in 2020

Several gun bills were the subject of a series of public hearings in the Senate Law & Justice Committee meeting Monday, which drew a large crowd of gun control supporters, as well as Second Amendment advocates. One of the most prominent bills from that hearing, Senate Bill 6077, would ban large-capacity magazine weapons with the capability of shooting more than 10 rounds. 

Other bills to receive a public hearing Monday included SB 6294, which would require handgun owners to submit proof of training in the last five years to obtain or renew a concealed carry license, SB 6347, which incentives handgun owners to receive extra training to extend their concealed carry license to seven years, not just five and SB 6406, which would impose a harsher penalty on those who steal handguns from a residence or store. SB 6402, similarly, would make theft of a firearm a Class A felony. 

4. Get to know reporter Madeline Shannon

Madeline Shannon is a new reporter covering the legislature for the Wire. She joins us after a career covering beats in California and Oregon. Another reporter, Michael Goldberg, introduces you to Madeline with this short Q&A on her background and approach to journalism.

You can read Madeline’s work covering sex education legislation, Gov. Inslee’s “State of the State” and the Republican response, and a new proposal regarding sex offender registration. Keep an eye out for her byline this session.

5.  1917:  You should see this film

Lets face it:  this is not the golden era of movies. Television or streaming is definitely a better medium for visual story telling 99 times out of 100 over the last decade.  That said, 1917 is an amazing film, and one definitely worth watching in the theater.  It is “visually extravagant,” shot in two or three continuous shots, a scale of work not achieved since The Russian Ark in 2002.

It is about duty. It’s about honor. And, if you know about the history of The Great War, it includes references to how the political and miltary leaders used young men as machine gun fodder, over-looking their common humanity. This experience “democratized” war, sensitizing us to the brutality of combat, in a way that seems foreign to our age of attacks by long-range drones and cruise missiles.


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