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Morning Wire: Senate Dems leading, Rep. Paul Graves, Michael Bennett

Emily Boerger is our reporter in Olympia this session, making the Wire (once again) the only digital outlet in Washington State with a full time reporter in Olympia for the session.

Because of her coverage, we’re trying our hand at making this a weekly newsletter through the session.  We are building a daily edition email, too, though we are still ironing out the tech.

As always, thanks for reading our stuff and for your engagement with us at the Washington State Wire.


1. Behind the scenes on the Hirst, capital budget deal


Simply put, it’s remarkable a deal on Hirst and the capital budget got done in the first two weeks of session. We mentioned it in last week’s issue. But, between last Tuesday and today, it got through both chambers and was signed by the governor.

I’ve spoken with legislators from both chambers and lobbyists who were tracking the bill about how the bill came about so quickly, and there are three key reasons it moved so quickly.  I outline them in this “behind the scenes” look, but I’ll tell you the common thread:  they are all Senate Democrats.


2. Senate Dems are winning the 2018 session, so far


During times of single party rule of the legislature, the division isn’t partisan. It’s between the House and the Senate.  And, by a number of measures, the Senate is driving pro-active policy in the 2018 session.

The Hirst compromise came from the Senate, as detailed above. Voting rights legislationmoved through the Senate last week.  And, the Senate is driving the debate on Inslee’s carbon tax legislation, while the bill hasn’t even been introduced in the House.

Sure, I know we’re a long way from the end game. And I know the House leadership is just as progressive as the Senate. But, it’s clear that through two weeks, the overall agenda, the policy energy, and the progressive momentum in the 2018 legislative session is being driven by the Senate.


3. Wire Insider: Rep. Paul Graves

Representative Paul Graves is the Assistant Ranking Member on both the Health Care & Wellness and the Judiciary Committees. He also sits on the House Appropriations Committee. He joins us as a “Wire Insider” to talk about what he’s focused on in the 2018 session, and mentions a few issues that we are likely to see beyond this session.

“One virtue of my district is that the issues are really straightforward and relatively simple: excellent schools, getting traffic moving, and holding the line on taxes. So, all three of those are going to be issues this year. Education, of course, for the last decade has been the biggest topic in Olympia, and we made substantial strides and I’m really glad about where we ended up there.”


4. ICYMI: Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick



The NFL got political this year, led by President Trump calling out players for not standing during the national anthem.  Last week’s New Yorker cover connected the dots between Martin Luther King, and NFL players choosing to kneel during the anthem.

While Colin Kaepernick launched the protest, and was included on last week’s cover, so too was Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett.  Bennett also knelt during the anthem this year. He was also caught up in a matter with Las Vegas police where he was detailed, he claimed, based on racial profiling.

If Bennett continues to be equated to Kaepernick, it will be interesting to see what, if any, political fallout is generated among Seahawk fans that aren’t generally fans of the former 49er quarterback resulting from a team rivalry.


5. What do Patty Murray and Donald Trump have in common?



Rosie O’Donnell isn’t a fan of Donald Trump. Apparently, she isn’t a fan of Senator Patty Murray, either.  She took to Twitter this week to ask about “that woman,” Washington State’s senior senator, garnering 1,951 “likes.”

One response from Bhavisha Patel: “That is Patty Murray and she’s a United States Senator. Smiling is not a requirement for her job (or for any woman, for that matter).” Patel’s response garnered 5,382 likes as of this writing. O’Donnell tried to atone for her poor form via a contribution to Sen. Murray’s re-election effort.


6.  Podcast:  Martin O’Malley



Martin O’Malley has spent his entire career fighting for under-served and middle-class communities. He has served as the Governor of Maryland, Mayor of Baltimore, and a city councilor—earning a reputation as a bold, progressive, and pragmatic executive who is willing to take on our toughest shared challenges. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, and made health care an important part of his campaign.

We sat down with O’Malley at our sister site’s event, the 2018 Hawaii State of Reform Health Policy Conference, for this extended conversation. We talk through some of the health care reforms he worked on in Maryland, and the current state of our national politics. It’s well worth your listen here.


7.  Q&A with Rep. Dave Hayes on opioid bill



Representative Dave Hayes serves as the House Minority Whip as well as the Assistant Ranking Minority Member of the Public Safety Committee. He sat down with The Wire to discuss his priority bill of the session — a crime diversion pilot project.

In this Q&A with Rep. Hayes, he walks us through the logic of his pilot project to address, in part, opioid use in Snohomish County.  his morning, members of the House Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to send HB 2287 out of committee and to Appropriations. Hayes: “I have put in a budget request for $1.5 million. The governor has already dedicated $500,000 in his budget, but I think we need more.”