Upcoming Conference | 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 13, 2018 Register

Morning Wire: Primaries to watch, Planned Parenthood, #Seahomeless

As we head into another week of amazing summer weather, here is a rundown of the primary races we will be watching, a guest commentary on a potential pathway toward a Republican Senate Majority in Washington State, and coverage of the recent Mass Shooting Work Group meeting. Be sure to follow our coverage throughout the week at www.washingtonstatewire.com and on twitter @wastatewire.
With help from DJ Wilson & Marjie High

1.  Planned Parenthood protects Teen Pregnancy Protection Programs

The Wire’s Marjie High talked to Willa Marth, the Chief Learning Office of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI). She shared the organization’s unique initiatives to help reduce incidences of teen pregnancy and educate youth about sexual health in communities of need.

Ms. Marth emphasized the importance of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to block the Trump administration’s sudden cuts to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs, the confusion of service providers over the new abstinence-only guidance for government funded programs, and PPGNHI’s most recent lawsuit challenging the funding requirements.

2.  The pathway for a Republican Senate majority

Isaac Kastama offers this commentary on how the Majority Coalition Caucus could retake its Senate majority in 2019.  With a number of folks assuming a ‘blue wave’ is on the horizon, Kastama breaks the map down into a handful of key races – notably, the annual battlefield of the 44th LD.  Sen. Steve Hobbs faces yet another grueling race there this year where Republicans are aggressively investing in mail and tv ads.  Kastama also argues Democratic candidate Rodney Tom should be expected to caucus again with the Republicans, should he win in the 48th against Sen. Patty Kuderer.

Consultants on both sides tell us those districts are likely to stick with their incumbents.  And Democrats argue that they will pick up a few seats this year.  But, for all of the energy on the left related to opposing Donald Trump, it shouldn’t be taken for granted that this energy will trickle down the ballot.

3. The Wire is adding to our capital reporting team

We are looking to add another reporter to our Washington State Wire team!  I covered the legislature full time last session, but will be taking on state policy issues across the state next year.  So, I’ll only be in Olympia half-time. My colleague, Marjie High, will cover the legislature part-time in Olympia too while she continues statewide policy based in Seattle.

Now, we’re looking to add another full time reporter based in Olympia to our team that will cover the legislature and state agencies.  And, we’d love to have you put the word out to folks that might be interested!  We’ve already gotten some very impressive resumes from across the country.

Check out the job description here.  In total, we plan to have 1.75 FTE covering the legislative session next year, making the Wire’s press corps one of the largest in Olympia.

We’re trying to change the nature of civic, policy and political reporting – no small feat. Want to join us?

4.  Primaries to watch as ballots drop

The Secretary of State’s office will mail out ballots this Friday for the upcoming August 7th primary. Of the 49 legislative districts in the state, 32 have races that include at least three candidates. Twelve races have incumbents facing off against same-party challengers and about a dozen races are for the open seats of retiring legislators.

We put together a summary of some of the most interesting primaries to watch, featuring crowded races, incumbents who might have trouble progressing, and races that may be pivotal when it comes to the general election. Take a look at the full rundown here.

5.  Mass Shooting Work Group meeting

The Mass Shootings Work Group held a meeting last week where they discussed school safety and mass shooting prevention with school administrators from around the state. Representatives from rural and urban school districts met with the work group to discuss what works in their districts and where they believe work still needs to be done.

Security measures such as video cameras, electronic locking and new visitor badge systems were briefly mentioned, but the majority of time was spent discussing mental health in schools. Specifically, the panelists mentioned having behavioral and mental health interventions available in elementary schools, improving parent support, and allocating funding to add school psychologists and School Resource Officers (SROs) to schools. With mental health expected to be a priority in the 2019 session, expect to see legislation prioritizing student mental health as well.

6. #Seahomeless day of media coverage

Now in its third year, on Thursday, July 19th, local media organizations will participate in the #Seahomeless day of coverage. On Thursday, outlets like the Seattle Times, Crosscut, and the Seattle PI will dedicate coverage and their social media channels to reporting on those experiencing homelessness in Seattle.

GeekWire and The Evergrey also just finished collecting readers’ questions on homelessness to help drive their reporting. This week readers will get an opportunity to vote on what they think are the most pressing questions related to homelessness and the two outlets will publish stories based on the responses. Be sure to follow all of the stories on Thursday using the hashtag #seahomeless.