Local officials are wagering on Hawks
Mayor Mike McGinn took to Twitter to make a bet on the Seattle Seahawks-Washington Redskins NFL game, the Seattle Weekly reports. Not to worry: No money is involved. Under the bet, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will fly the city of Seattle flag after the Seahawks, or, ugh, McGinn will hoist the D.C. flag for a day over City Hall. Not to be outdone, King County Exec Dow Constantine, a huge football fan (he's made every Husky home game for decades, according to his office), placed a somewhat more elaborate bet with a suburban D.C. county executive via webcam and then posted the exchange on Vimeo.
New year, new initiatives: Part 1
Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman today turned in signatures for his latest measure, one to make it easier to gather petition signatures. The Herald's Jerry Cornfield reports that Initiative 517 will face opposition from the Northwest Progressive Institute, which says the measure's provision for longer petition-gathering timelines could lead to year-round requests for signatures. Cornfield also reported that retailers are worried that the petition gatherers would have the right to be inside their properties; Eyman said it would only apply to public buildings.
Dave Ammons of the Secretary of State's Office summarized I-517 this way:
Initiative 517 would set penalties for interfering with or harassing signature-gathering crews; extend to one year the time sponsors are allowed to collect signatures, rather than less than half a year; and require a public vote on ballot measures that qualify, even if lawsuits are filed.
The full text is here.
New year, new initiatives: Part 2
Food and health activists also filed signatures from an initiative petition campaign today for I-522, which would require labeling of most processed and raw foods that have genetically engineered ingredients. A California measure for GMO labeling lost in November after a heavily financed opposition campaign by agricultural interests. The text of the Washington measure is here.
Both I-517 and I-522 appear to have plenty of signatures, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
Both Eyman and the GMO measures are initiatives to the Legislature. As Ammons explains:
They will go first to the lawmakers, who begin their 105-day regular session on Jan. 14. Legislators have three options for each initiative: pass it into law as is, let it go to the November ballot for a public vote, or send it and a legislative alternative to the ballot and let voters decide which, if either, they want to support. The typical initiative to the Legislature takes the second path, going on to the General Election ballot. One or both houses may hold public hearing(s).
Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com takes a nice look at one of the less-noticed facts about the new Congress sworn in today. There are now 20 women senators, a full one-fifth of the body. As Connelly notes, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are among the longtimers who are moving up in seniority and influence.
Murray will chair the Senate Budget Committee in the 113th Congress. Just elected to her third term, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., takes over as chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. She already sits on three “A”-list committees — Finance, Commerce and Energy and Natural Resources. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., just gained a seat on the House Appropriations Committee.
There are also 81 women in the House, including influential Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane. One fact Connelly doesn't parse out: That's 18.6 percent, putting the House pretty much on par with the Senate.
Time to start getting warmer
Chilly this morning, right? On his blog, weather expert Cliff Mass tells us that Jan. 3 is on average the coldest day of the year in Seattle, as measured at Sea-Tac Airport. He presents data for the 1948-2012 time period, saying of this date: "The average maximum temperature drops to 43F and the minimum temperature to 33. Then the warming begins!"
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