We have 10 items curated for you today, either posted at www.washingtonstatewire.com or curated from the various news outlets we follow. We know our readers are interested in how government works (or doesn’t), rather than just the horse race of politics.
So, we’ve got a few nuggets for you to help stay on top of some of the policy matters percolating in and around Olympia this week.
With help from Emily Boerger and Kylie Walsh
1. Lobbyists give high marks to 2018 legislative session
According to the recently released Elway Poll, registered lobbyists gave the 2018 Legislative Session their highest performance grade in 9 years. This session’s overall 2.47 GPA (C+) is a full point higher than last year’s 1.46 GPA, and 8 out of 9 program areas showed improved grades this year.
Top marks went to K-12 education, social/human services, and higher education. Lobbyists reported finishing on time, K-12 funding, social services bills, and no new taxes as the most significant outcomes from the 2018 session. According to the poll, the biggest disappointments from session include the failure of the carbon tax, inaction on gun safety, and the legislature’s action on the public records bill.
2. DGA in town and talking AI
Governor Inslee hosted a Democratic Governors Association (DGA) conference over the weekend in downtown Seattle. Gov. Kate Brown from Oregon, Gov. Dan Malloy from Connecticut, and Gov. Tom Wolf from Pennsylvania were all featured.
Sessions included a presentation by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft, on AI. He highlighted Microsoft’s Seeing AI app that allows low vision individuals AI-supported recognition of people, emotions, handwritten text and other items. Smith said of the 521,000 computer science jobs open in the United States, higher education institutions had prepared only 42,000 new graduates. Among the 42,000 high schools in the US, only 4,665 had AP computer science courses.
Smith called for a “new social contract” in America, one that transcends the current model based on the economics of the 1920s and 30s. Smith concluded saying, “We can safely assume these conversations won’t take place in Washington DC. They will take place in state capitols, and we can safely assume that these conversations will be led by democratic governors.”
3. Video: Senator Mark Miloscia on homelessness
Senator Mark Miloscia represents the 30th Legislative District, which is south King County and part of Pierce County. He is the Ranking Member of the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee. He also sits on the Human Services & Corrections and the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committees. Sen. Miloscia joins us for this edition of “Wire Insider” to discuss rising homelessness and drug use in the Puget Sound area.
“You know everybody laughs about quality in government, it’s an oxymoron, but we need to make it real. We need to look at the data, come up with real plans for success, make sure that our programs that when implemented are efficient, effective, and ethical. They’re not here in Washington State unfortunately.”
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5. Gun control in leg amid “March For Our Lives”
On Saturday, thousands of protesters participated in the March For Our Lives in Washington and across the country. The protest was both a push for tighter gun laws and a push to register new voters.
Many of the specific legislative goals outlined by protest organizers, including a ban on high-capacity magazines and the elimination of assault weapons, were heard this year in the Washington Legislature, but few gun-related bills made it into law. However, last week Gov. Inslee did sign two gun safety measures – one that makes it unlawful for a person convicted of domestic violence harassment to own a gun, and another to create a program for individuals to voluntarily waive their firearm rights.
As we previously reported, following the Parkland school shooting Democratic leadership encouraged citizen-led gun safety initiatives. In recent years, universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders were both put into place via initiative.
6. First partial vetoes issued by Inslee
One of the most powerful tools available to Washington’s governor is the line-item veto. It allows a governor to strike sections of a bill with which he disagrees, while letting the full bill otherwise pass into law. Last week, Gov. Inslee issued his first four partial vetoesfollowing the legislative session. Each was largely a technical fix, or a striking of intent language that Inslee didn’t think appropriate.
Since taking office in 2013, Inslee has issued between 10 and 15 partial vetoes following each legislative session. So, we can likely expect additional veto messages out this week.
7. New report shows health disparities by county
A recent report shows the significant health disparities by county in Washington State. The report analyzed both health outcomes and health factors. San Juan, King and Snohomish Counties are the top three ranked in both categories. Ferry County is ranked last.
High school graduation rate ranges from 67 to 89%. While multiple counties have an uninsured rate of only 6%, Yakima County’s rate is 15%. Teen birth rates per 1,000 vary from 3% in Whitman County to 62% in Adams County. While King County reports an average of 3 physically unhealthy days per month, Adams County reports 4.9. You can explore the data here.
8. Sen. Padden joins Eyman v Wyman
Two weeks after Tim Eyman filed a lawsuit against the State and the Legislature demanding they include both Initiative-940 and HB 3003 on the November ballot, Senator Mike Padden has joined the ongoing litigation.
Padden was one of the more outspoken critics of HB 3003. During floor debate, he said that while he supported the policy, he believed that the bill circumvented the initiative process outlined in the Constitution. David DeWolf, who will represent Padden in the lawsuit, says Padden believes the Solicitor General will be unable to adequately represent both the legislators that supported passing HB 3003 and the legislators who did not. Eyman’s entire lawsuit can be found here.
9. What people are searching for
This great post from @anton last night shows what folks are most interested in searching for in the last 30 days. It may not surprise you that what most of the world cares about isn’t politics.
Donald Trump is red. March Madness is green. #deletefacebook is blue. Yellow is somewhat more carnal in nature. It’s a reminder that for all of the energy we put into policy and politics, sometimes voters would rather simply live their lives, away from all of the hullabaloo. Axios puts it this way: “People are presented with more content than can possibly be consumed, often choosing relaxing, pleasing selections over the news of the moment.” Who can blame them?
10. In the “I’ve never seen that before” column
Typically, a White House position is coveted, something generally accessible only by word-of-mouth from someone close to or in the administration. These aren’t positions open to the general public, because the list of well qualified, well connected applicants is already long.
But, apparently that isn’t the case in the Trump administration, which is conducting a national search for a position that has a minimum requirement of only one year of direct relevant experience.