Washington Legislature 2022, Day 26 of 60
Jerry Cornfield, Everett Herald political reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org | @dospueblos
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OLYMPIA, February 4 – Happy Friday.
In this edition we have an update, a sequel, a fix and a prediction.
Crowd control reminder
More senators can participate in in-person sessions starting Monday.
This morning, the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee voted unanimously to double the number of senators allowed on the floor, citing signs that the recent surge in COVID cases is easing.
Now the maximum is 15 people – eight Democrats and seven Republicans. Monday will be 30 — 16 Democrats and 14 Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig called it a “safe and reasonable step” toward a return to full in-person operations. Senate Minority Leader John Braun said he thought it was a little “too cautious,” but nonetheless glad more people could get involved.
Republicans also want to be able to remove their masks while speaking on the floor. This was not resolved today. Maybe when the panel meets again in two weeks.
‘Credit Score Wars II – The Return of Kreidler’
This sequel to the 2021 thriller finds state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler in another pitched battle with insurers, valiantly trying to end their use of credit scores in setting rates for home, auto and tenant policies. .
And, as before, lawmakers are content to let them fight.
Kreidler on Tuesday ordered a ban on using the credit score starting March 4. It will remain in effect until three years after the pandemic emergency ends, either by the president or the governor, whichever is later.
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association and other trade groups responded Thursday by filing lawsuits to block its enforcement.
In the original “movie,” Kreidler used an emergency rule to briefly put a ban in place before insurers asked a judge to overturn it. This time, the commish crafted its rule through a lengthy public process to better withstand a legal challenge. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, lawmakers could ban the rate-setting tool with legislation. But they are too divided. This week, a bill forming a task force to discuss the subject – under the direction of a professional mediator – died in committee.
They didn’t play with Moxee
Political maps drawn by the Redistricting Commission divide the town of Moxee into two legislative districts. In Wednesday’s Cornfield Report, I noted that county auditors suggested lawmakers move a group of people to place the community in the same district.
I wrote that it looked like lawmakers were intent on making the change. But they didn’t. It was one of the few recommendations that Democratic and Republican leaders opted out of.
This resolution contains the changes made by the Legislative Assembly before Tuesday’s deadline for action.
The new boundaries, which will soon be final, are now posted on the Redistricting Commission website.
Carnac against the President’s Pen
For tough yes-or-no questions, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins picks up the Predict A Pen and shakes it.
This is no ordinary writing instrument. It offers response to queries much like one of those magic 8-ball toys.
This week I asked a question for the pen.
Q: “Will Governor Jay Inslee complete his term?”
A: “If you’re lucky.”
Have a nice week end.
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