Jerry Cornfield

New laws may mean changes in elections

Lawmakers are looking at ways to make the election process cheaper for voters, easier to see who is funding campaigns and harder to run initiatives with financial consequences.

Democrats victims of their own inattention

Democrats are trying to sort out what went wrong in the election and why the presence of Initiative 594 on the ballot didn’t motivate more of their voters to turn out.

End of every election cycle marks a new one

Around the state there are still votes to be counted and races to be decided, but here are a few takeaways from Tuesday’s election.

Committee looking at Boeing accountability

A smart group of ordinary folks, entrusted to advise state lawmakers on the merit of tax breaks, has a suggestion regarding the jumbo incentives enjoyed by the Boeing Co. and the rest of the aerospace industry:

Washington cities rebel against rising pot industry

When Snohomish City Council members voted to ban recreational marijuana businesses in the city, they joined a growing rebellion against the state’s newest industry.

New water quality standards won’t hurt Boeing, state says

For months, there’s been a drumbeat of panic that new water quality standards based on how much fish people eat could drive Boeing and other companies out of Washington.

Washington state set to make smokin’ pot profits

The financial stakes of the state’s new marijuana industry are no longer theoretical.

State’s wealthiest set sights on gun laws | The Petri Dish

Our state’s super wealthy social changers are at it again. Two years after their money helped make charter schools possible, the Ballmers, the Gateses and Nick Hanauer are using some of their loose millions to try to tighten gun laws in Washington.

Finesse may be better than force | The Petri Dish

Finesse is a word rarely used to describe Gov. Jay Inslee’s approach to fashioning policy.

State’s initiative king lost his bling | The Petri Dish

Rarely can the lack of action trigger so much reaction as it did last week when Tim Eyman didn’t do something he so often does — turn in signatures for an initiative.

Letter highlights Washington’s failing schools | The Petri Dish

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn doesn’t want to use the word “failing” when talking about Washington’s public schools.

Visitors take a look at Washington state’s newest ferry

State representatives call for changes at state ferries

Washington’s newest ferry went into service Monday amid the concerns of two lawmakers that a flawed design is causing some vehicles to bottom out as they transition from ramps onto upper parking decks.

Visitors take a look at Washington state’s newest ferry

Ethics Board looks at fine line around lobbyist meetings | Petri Dish

Amid the dialectic contours in Olympia, they are trying to figure out if influence can be peddled with a few bags of Doritos or a $12 meal.

Obama visit includes lesson about communication

That venerable adage ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’ came to mind Tuesday as President Barack Obama departed the Oso firehouse. Not because the communicator-in-chief had just provided three cringe-worthy moments with his tortured pronunciation of the town’s name.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make progress | Guest Column

Sometimes it takes a calamity to move anything through Congress. In the case of the Green Mountain Lookout, it took a tragedy for federal lawmakers to keep an iconic structure exactly where it is.

Time will tell on Gov. Inslee’s next political moves | Guest Column

No one could be happier to see state lawmakers wrap up and head home than Gov. Jay Inslee. They departed and won’t return until January, 2015.

Inslee seems to be test-driving messages | Guest Column

Gov. Jay Inslee’s call to raise money for schools by closing tax breaks put the education funding debate back in the laps of lawmakers this week and in the conversation with voters this fall. Inslee’s plan to generate $200 million in new taxes by eliminating or revising seven exemptions is a slimmed down version of the billion-dollar plus tax package rejected by a Republican-led majority in the Senate a year ago.

The Petri Dish | Guest Columnist

There is no mystery which Democrat will succeed Sen. Paull Shin in the state Senate. Rep. Marko Liias has been the only person seeking the vacancy created when Shin resigned Jan. 7 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Liias is expected to be formally nominated Saturday by Democratic precinct committee officers in the 21st Legislative District and officially appointed Tuesday by the Snohomish County Council.

Legislators have full slate in 2014 | Guest Column

A preview of coming attractions and distractions for lawmakers next year can be found in the pile of legislation awaiting them when they return to Olympia in January. There have been 59 bills filed early — 38 in the House and 21 in the Senate — dealing with specialty license plates and protecting hospital employees from violent criminals, as well as naming a state waterfall and ensuring natural disasters don’t shut down government. Here’s a sample of new laws House and Senate members are already pushing:

Years after Metcalf, district may get a Republican vote | Guest Column

It’s been 33 years since voters chose a Republican governor in Washington. It’s been even longer since a member of the Grand Old Party got elected from the 38th Legislative District to the state House of Representatives. You have to go back half a century to find the last one — Jack Metcalf, a Whidbey Island Republican who won a House seat when the district’s boundaries encompassed parts of Snohomish and Island counties.