OLYMPIA, March 11 — Another legislative session is on the books after a grueling final night in which lawmakers flirted with a special session.
There were also surprises.
Who expected Senate Democrats to kill the police chase bill?
It passed in the Senate 31-18 a month ago and in the House 86-12 a week ago. But remember, all of those “no” votes in the Senate came from the Democrats. Since the House tweaked the bill, the Senate was expected to approve Thursday.
Upon his arrival, he no longer had enough support in the caucus, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig told reporters at a postsession news conference.
Republicans sensed trouble. They tried several times to force a vote without success.
Credit family members of those killed by police and those who demand greater police accountability for changing their minds. They argued from day one that the bill would undo changes made last year, leading to an increase in violent interactions.
Law enforcement officials have argued that the 2021 law cripples their ability to engage in prosecutions to protect public safety.
Democratic Senator Manka Dhingra offered a rebuttal to reporters. Why, she asked, were some law enforcement agencies able to do their job and others not?
I didn’t see this one coming
Who expected House Democrats to kill one of the most important pieces of climate change legislation?
House Bill 1099 prescribed what counties must put into comprehensive climate change plans. It had been heavily negotiated over two sessions. The House and Senate met in conference to iron out wrinkles, as if to include a goal to address “climate change” – or should it be “environmental resilience”?
On Thursday, the Senate passed the final compromise, but the House never put it to a vote.
House Speaker Laurie Jinkins called it “very disappointing” before blaming Republicans. The GOP signaled its intention to filibuster the bill, which could have prevented action on the budget before the end of the session, she said. Time is running out, Jinkins moved the budget.
The bill’s unexpected death followed an intriguing flare-up in the Senate that required the intervention of Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck.
At stake was the content of the final compromise brokered by House and Senate Democrats. They added brand new things, allowing for the creation of special zones for higher density housing, which they removed from legislation that died earlier in the session.
The Republicans cried foul. They said the new verbiage goes beyond the scope and purpose of the bill, which tackles climate change through policies in global plans. Heck had to make a decision.
“I don’t feel good about this one,” he said. “It’s not a clear case.”
Both Democrats and Republicans have had their dust this session. Was this session more partisan than the previous ones?
Gov. Jay Inslee: “When I think of Republicans and Democrats, I think of people on the streets, not people in the Legislative Assembly. And the people on the streets want what we delivered tonight, which is progress, progress on housing, schools, climate change and transportation. In a sense, it was a bipartisan success.
Senate Minority Leader John Braun: “We challenged the majority proposals with what we still consider to be better ideas. Sometimes we’ve been successful – it’s thanks to Republicans that law enforcement gets crime-fighting tools. Otherwise, our proposals to restore public safety, restore public trust, and make life in Washington more affordable have been stalled. If there was a question where the interests of our fellow Democrats lie, the answer has been provided by the decisions made over the past 60 days.