Saturday, March 7, 2009

Representative Roundup

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Realtors back legislation to boost state economy by $1.35 billion
Senate Bill 5452 and House Bill 1384 propose to increase the debt limit of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission so that the agency can provide down-payment assistance to more people. The economic stimulus proposals are sponsored by Sen. Claudia Kaufman (D-Kent) and Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-Federal Way).

Struggling States Look to Unorthodox Taxes
In his 11 years in the Washington Legislature, Representative Mark Miloscia says he has supported all manner of methods to fill the state’s coffers, including increasing fees on property owners to help the homeless and taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, most of which, he said, passed "without a peep."

What will Washington’s living wage be if all the businesses leave?
For those of you who don’t read the comments, I received a comment from Representative Miloscia regarding this post. I’d like to take the opportunity to make a correction to my earlier post.

In Our View, March 1: Expand DNA testing
Expanded DNA testing is a good idea, and we recommend the Legislature follow the lead of several other states and approve House Bill 1382, sponsored by state Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way. Among the states that have adopted such a practice is California, which started the program this year after 62 percent of voters approved Proposition 69.

Freedom Under Fire, Mar. 1st, 2009
In Washington, Democrat Mark Miloscia was recently shot down when trying to levy an 18.5% sales tax on pornography and adult products. Miloscia relates, "People came down on me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t quite understand. Apparently porn is right up there with Mom and apple pie."

A 'living' wage apparently is between $9.70 and $11.55 an hour
Thanks to state Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way, I may have found out. Or something close to it. Miloscia has introduced House Bill 1716, which would require "living wages" be paid after Jan. 1, 2010 to anyone being paid under a contract let by the state Community, Trade and Economic Development Department.

Earmark Reform at a Standstill
Lists Patty Murray with 155 earmarks

HANFORD: Senators silent on nuke waste defeat
And did anyone notice that there is not a word from Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell? They know that in the world of Washington, D.C., politics, this was a fight that they could not win. This shows that they want to "get along." This was a fight they should have fought, because it was for the people of the state that elected them.

What I know (so far) about Medicare
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. has reintroduced a bill that would reform Medicare reimbursement rates so that Washington's rate would at least meet the national average. This bill, to my way of thinking, has little chance of passing because the money will have to come out of programs in such states as Florida, California and New York. Good luck with that, Patty.

Patty Murray Big On Earmarks
Senator Patty Murray ranks 12th in total dollars of earmark spending in the stimulus bill. A grand total of $171 million dollars can be credited to Ms. Murray. She is responsible for 155 earmarks.

Brad Pitt makes surprise visit to Sen. Murray
It wasn’t just another day at the office Thursday, March 5, for Sen. Patty Murray. Brad Pitt dropped by.

A withdrawal of sorts from Iraq
Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Senator Carl Levin, chair of the Armed Services Committee, both indicated that the figure was higher than they had expected. Senator Patty Murray of Washington, said, "I do think we have to look carefully at the numbers that are there and do it as quickly as we can."

Murray in Top 12 for earmark requests, Larsen in top half
As The Seattle Times notes, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, is ranked 12th in the Senate for the amount of earmarks she was able to place in the federal omnibus spending bill.

White House Rethinks Tax Hikes
Another Democrat, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, questioned why the administration wouldn't look for savings in the tax code through a comprehensive overhaul. "Why not look at a broader approach to tax policy, [rather] than coming in with this proposed change to marginal rates?" Ms. Cantwell said.

On the Challenges to Grid Expansion
Just last year, Senator Maria Cantwell noted that it would take $900 billion to sufficiently upgrade the current electric grid so that it could handle current needs and transmission for future renewable power plants. If Cantwell is correct than what good can $11 billion really do?

AIG, still a black hole
Tim Geithner had a little argument about this with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) at a Senate Finance hearing today. Here's Cantwell: "AIG has been bailed out four times since September to the tune of $160 billion... why hasn’t Treasury come forward and said who are the affected counterparties?"

Bill on ROZs introduced in US Congress
In the Senate, Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell sponsored the Act, which has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The co-sponsors include Senator Robert Casey and Senator Orrin Hatch.

Smart Grid May Present New Opportunities for Broadband, Say Experts
The open architecture will consist of many application programming interfaces, Gallagher told Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. Cantwell worried that TCP/IP architecture may not be appropriate for some applications. "We need to keep our eyes on that," she said. But Murkowski later said in an interview that the "bottom line…is how to get the information to the consumer."

Cantwell Pushes Economic Strategy in Afghanistan
Last Thursday, Sen. Maria Cantwell introduced a bill she’d shopped last session that adds an economic aspect to the overall (military) U.S. strategy in Afghanistan -- something we’ve been a little panicked about lately.

Congress to Examine Counterthreat Finance Successes & Plans
The U.S. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, chaired by Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, will hold a hearing on March 11 titled, "Tracking and Disrupting Terrorist Financial Networks: A Potential Model for Inter-agency Success?"

Clinton, Obama Dispatch Envoys to Damascus for Talks
Representative Adam Smith, a Democrat from the state of Washington led a congressional delegation to Damascus in February, the first since President Barack Obama’s inauguration. He said he came away convinced that Syria wants to normalize ties with the U.S.

Democrats gearing up to go after U.S. Rep. Reichert, again
Locally, Democratic U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, who serves the 3rd district including Olympia, was ranked the 175th most liberal and 252nd most conservative. Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, who serves the 9th district including Lacey, was ranked 135th most liberal and 293rd most conservative.

WA Legislators to Up Dealers’ "Doc Fees" from $50 to $150
Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, said she sponsored Senate Bill 5816 at the request of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association and its 328 dealerships, and one of her former constituents, Mary Byrne, former owner of Nissan of Fife.



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