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Posts published in March 2007

NW Presidential

More Northwest developments in the presidential run: Republican Mitt Romney will hold a fundraiser ($1,000 a plate, we're told) at Boise on the 13th. Early indications are that, with half the state's congressional delegation signed on, he will get plenty of support in the Gem state.

As in Washington the trend lines are looking good for Republican John McCain, who is picking up useful endorsements (former Senator Slade Gorton's, for one) and Democrat Barack Obama (who held a massive rally at Bellevue last month).

In part prompting us to launch our 2008 NW Presidential supporters list - a list of prominent (or at least politically active) supporters in the region, by state. The list of Northwest supporters is not extensive but likely to grow.

Sounds like a winner

Steven Thayn
Steven Thayn

So far Idaho House Concurrent Resolution 24 remains in the House Education Committee, but there's no denying it sounds like a winner in the Idaho House.

Here is its statement of purpose:

This concurrent resolution points out the importance of the parental role in the education and training of children. It emphasizes that early childhood education can be, and should be, delivered by parents in a home environment. It encourages the Idaho State Board of Education and the Idaho Department of Education to work with parents, rather than with the children under the age of five, except in unusual situations. It also encourages the Department of Education to post on its website, in a form that parents may easily access, the skills and attitudes they feel are necessary for children to learn before they enter kindergarten.

Reflecting, in that last sentence, an apparent need for the state to tell parents how to raise their early-age kids.

It is sponsored by freshman Representative Steven Thayn, R-Emmett (with support from House Majority Leader Mike Moyle). Introduced just recently, on February 22, it appears to be a response to several early-child measures this session which have been dealt with so far in the normal Idaho House fashion - deep-sixed.

This is not a group, of course, with much use for either social programs or regulation. But the core argument against the measures appeared to stem from variations on the comment by Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Iona: "What can we do to keep mom at home?"

The reaction to that has generated some unusually strong commentary. Could it be to the point that some of it actually sinks in on the solid Republican constituency?

Don't hold your breath on that last. But the comments are pretty strong.

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The domestic vote

The Washington Senate vote today on the domestic partnership bill showed clearly who is in charge in the Washington legislature: An urban-suburban coalition decisive enough to write off the rest. And it may suggest more besides.

Senate Bill 5336, sponsored by Senator Ed Murray, D-Seattle, would create a state-backed registry for same-sex adult couples and unmarried heterosexual couples over age 62; registration would afford some legal rights ordinarily associated with marriage, including hospital visitation, burial, some insurance advantages and others. Passage in the Senate, on 28-19 vote, sends it to the House, where it is expected to pass more easily, and likely to Governor Chris Gregoire, who is expected to sign it.

It's a politically significant measure, throwing down a marker on one of the hottest of issues. One Republican senator, Don Benton of Vancouver, proposed sending the measure to a popular vote, but that was defeated. One wonders what the voters would have done.

Odds are, they would have passed it; on emotional measures like this one, legislators more often than not are fair barometers of what their constituency thinks, and the vote here was not close.

It was a partisan vote, and a regional vote.

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