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Morning Wire: Rep. Davina Duerr, Overtime policy, House Speaker election

Thanks to Emily Boerger for holding down the fort while I was with my family on vacation. We spent some time traveling in Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro, learning about the war there, in addition to hitting the beaches.

Sarajevo is still recovering from over 1400 days under a modern siege.  The massacre at Srebenica has not been forgotten. And the nationalist, dehumanizing rhetoric which led up to the war is worth reflecting upon. 

1. Q&A with Washington’s newest legislator

Representative Davina Duerr was appointed to the Washington State Legislature to represent the 1st LD at the beginning of July. She takes over the position from Sen. Derek Stanford who was appointed state senator following Guy Palumbo’s departure.

Duerr has served on the Bothell City Council for the last three and a half years. Emily Boerger interviewed her shortly following her appointment to the legislature.  The interview highlights her background, the issues she is passionate about, and what she is looking forward to in the 2020 legislative session. 

2. Rep. Robinson on health, homelessness, and the House Speaker election

Representative June Robinson represents Washington’s 38th Legislative District in Snohomish County. She serves as both a member of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee.  She’s also a candidate to lead the House Democrats as the next speaker. 

In this Q&A, Robinson highlights the 2019 session and the challenges of writing a state budget.  She also discusses the upcoming House Speaker election where Robinson says, “It’s one of those things where there’s just times in your life where you feel like you need to step forward and move into a space where leadership is needed… I care a lot about what happens both to our caucus, to our legislature, and to our state in the future and chose to put my name forward to see what happens.”

3. WA voters support overtime pay policy

A new poll finds 67% of likely November 2020 Washington voters support a guaranteed overtime pay policy. The poll aims to evaluate voter opinion on the Department of Labor and Industries’ (L&I) recent draft changes to Washington’s overtime rules, which would return overtime protections to almost 45% of Washington’s salaried workers.

Nearly every subgroup in the poll viewed the policy as favorable, with differences in support based on gender, age, and education. Yesterday, L&I held a public hearing on the draft rule change, which you can view here. The department will hold several additional meetings to gather public comment throughout the rest of summer. 

4. Rep. Barkis’ 5 incentivized housing solutions

State Representative Andrew Barkis recently gave a presentation at the Association of Washington Business Housing Forum, where he outlined five tools he believes will make it easier to develop new and affordable housing in the state.

These “incentivized housing solutions” include: tax exemptions, expediting the state’s permitting process, a sales tax credit, zoning flexibility, and finding ways to mitigate building fees. Our rundown of his 5 solutions is here, and Barkis’s full remarks are here

5. $45 mill in grants awarded for salmon restoration

Last week, the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and Puget Sound Partnership announced 64 different grants, totaling $45 million, awarded to counties in the Puget Sound area. The grants aim to improve Chinook salmon habitat and conserve shorelines and riverbanks in Clallam, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties.

“Salmon are integral to the identity and traditions of the Pacific Northwest and are a vital part of the Puget Sound food web. This funding will support projects that help recover salmon populations and feed our struggling southern resident orcas,” said Laura Blackmore, Puget Sound Partnership’s executive director. A breakdown of all of the projects funded through the grant money is available here.