Jordan Royer/Washington Ceasefire volunteer
Art work by Noel Franklin
Opening day for the Legislature
Three Senate Democrats accepted committee chair or co-chair positions offered by the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus. All three are generally moderate: Sens. Tracey Eide of Federal Way, Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens and Brian Hatfield of Raymond.
Crosscut's John Stang will be reporting on the opening of the Legislature later this evening. You can follow Crosscut's coverage of the 2013 legislative session on our Olympia 2013 page.
A Senate prayer for marriage?
Is the first order of business for the new Senate majority to undo the will of voters? Publicola reports that the opening prayer included a line asking that God grant lawmakers the inspiration to "strengthen ... marriage as you ordained it for our good." The minister giving the invocation isn't named, though Republican leader Sen. Mark Schoesler reportedly chose the speaker. Legislators won't override voters — unless of course voters magically gather to demand a retraction of their November vote. It's OK to pray for that not to happen, right?
Vice President Joe Biden is set to unveil a set of ideas about controlling gun violence as early as Tuesday. One possibility is cracking down on those who lie about their backgrounds, which is drawing wide support already, according to The New York Times.
As Joel Connelly reported on seattlepi.com, a march against gun violence in Seattle drew hundreds Sunday. Protestors are going to be looking for action in Olympia as well as D.C. Connelly asked a pointed question about gun control to a CityClub panel of legislators on Friday and used it for the pointed passage in his story, which was first posted Sunday night:
The rally and march followed by two days a Seattle City Club forum at which incoming Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a past sponsor of gun legislation, predicted there will be no assault weapons ban passed in Olympia this year. Tom signaled that gun safety will not be a high priority of his coalition of 24 Republicans and two dissident Democrats.
But, argued leading marchers Sunday, the assassinations of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has changed the landscape.
“The key is to keep building, that it won’t be like the Occupy movement,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
At several points, Connelly highlights the role of clergy members.
Cruise line to stop at ... Poulsbo
Here's something to envision when the weather gets warmer: Cruise ships will be visiting Poulsbo. But, according to a weekend story in The Kitsap Sun, you don't need to worry about one of the floating cities doubling the population of Poulsbo (9,200 during the 2010 census) just by pulling up. American Cruise Lines will bring a 100-passenger ship to Poulsbo at least 15 times this year. Reporter Brynn Grimley did a nice job of explaining the attraction of Poulsbo in the story, including this passage:
"In our research of where we want to go, we look for places that are historically rich. Our passengers love discovering different cultures and history," said American Cruise Lines spokeswoman Britt Rabinozici. "Poulsbo has a very interesting, Norwegian history. We think our passengers will love it."
People have also repeatedly asked for it, she said.
For those of us who lack the sophistication to dismiss Poulsbo as hokey or something, this sounds very cool.
We seem to be praying about all kinds of public issues today: A group called the Evangelical Immigration Table launched the "I Was a Stranger" prayer challenge today, urging "Christians to think about immigration from a distinctly biblical perspective." Richard Stearns, president of Federal Way-based World Vision U.S., is just one prominent signatory to an open letter to President Barack Obama urging bipartisan immigration reform: "We urge you to reach across the aisle and work to create a bipartisan solution that reflects our values, creates just and humane immigration laws, and moves us forward together."
On the state level, there may also be reason to hope for action of a bipartisan sort, since many Eastern Washington communities and Puget Sound businesses understand the value of fixing a broken system. For possible strategies here, see today's Crosscut commentary by Pramila Jayapal.
Boeing picketing training
If immigration reform would be good for the economy here, how would a Boeing strike affect the long-term strength of the region? Maybe that's for everyone to judge themselves, though it certainly sounds problematic. In any case, The Herald reports today on another step in what seems to be the escalation of tensions: The engineers union is training members for picket duty.
Welcome home for Seahawks
We might try to forget the outcome of the Seahawks' playoff game, except a lot of people here will never forget it. And it was a heck of a game and season, which is why hundreds of people showed up to greet the team when it returned home overnight.
The team has a slick, one-minute video here. This one isn't slick or high quality but just watching a little bit captures the emotion of the homecoming.
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