The 2000 general election brought a third year of a 49-49 tie in the Washington State House, and Senate Democrats slipped from a 27-22 majority to a 25-24 near tie.
At the beginning of the 2001 session, Rep. Renee Radcliff (R-21) resigned. Mukilteo city council member Joe Marine was appointed as her replacement. That fall, Marine was defeated by former Mukilteo mayor Brian Sullivan to break the tie and give House Democrats a 50-48 majority.
You remember the 2000 election, hanging chad, Florida, the Supreme Court. It was also the year the dot com millionaire and former state legislator/congresswoman Maria Cantwell defeated incumbent Senator Slade Gorton by 2,229 votes out of nearly 2.5 million cast to become a U.S. Senator and create a 50-50 tie.
George W. Bush was sworn in as our nation’s 43rd president on January 20th. Republican U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont declares himself an Independant, changing his party affiliation from Republican and handing a bare 50-49-1 majority to Democrats on June 5th.
Two days later the President signed into law his $1.35 trillion tax cut that heavily favored the wealthy and began to quickly erase President Clinton’s unprecedented budget surplus.
On July 10, 2001, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice was delivered an urgent warning by CIA Director George Tenet that al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden intended to strike the United States. Around the same time, a report from FBI agents in Phoenix was related to President Bush regarding suspicions about Arab students at a Phoenix flight school, directly referring to a connection with Bin Laden.
We all remember what happened on September 11, 2001. Three hundred and forty three of New York’s finest perished.
Afghanistan, axis of evil, Enron, regime change, Homeland Security. It’s a bit too depressing to recall it all.
In Washington State, Barry Ackerly sold the Seattle Sonics to Starbucks magnate Howard Schultz on January 11, 2001. On February 28, we were reminded that we live on several fault lines when the Nisqually earthquake registered 6.8 on the Richter Scale.
On July 10, 2001, four U.S. Forest Service firefighters died fighting the Okanogan County Thirty Mile Fire. On September 4th, Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago. On September 12th, a Sikh taxi driver at Sea-Tac was attacked after being called a terrorist. November 30th, Gary Ridgeway was arrested under suspicion of being the Green River Killer.
2001-2002 Laws Signed by Governor Gary Locke
HB 1045 - Although the normal retirement age had been lowered from 55 to 53, the age from which actuarial reductions are calculated for total disability remained at 55. This bill lowered it to 53. Rep. Steve Conway (D-29)
HB 1371 - Permits surviving spouses and children of “emergency service personnel” killed in the line of duty to purchase health care benefits from the Public Employees’ Benefits Board. Rep. Dave Morell (D-25) PRO – WSLEA, WPEA, C.O.P.S., RFFOW, WSP, KCPOG
HB 2496 - Allows fire protection district levies for periods up to four years, and for periods up to six years for the construction, modernization or remodeling of facilities. Current law required annual levies. Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-39) PRO – WSCFF, WFCA
2SHB 2663 - Expands existing “presumptive law” in the following manner: A rebuttable presumption is established that a fire fighter’s heart problem is an occupational disease if it is experienced within 72 hours of exposure to smoke, fumes, and toxic or chemical substances. Brain cancer, malignant melanoma, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, ureter cancer, and kidney cancer are presumed to be occupational diseases if the claimant has served as a fire fighter for ten or more years and showed no evidence of cancer upon becoming a fire fighter. HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, meningitis, and tuberculosis are also presumed to be occupational diseases. The occupational disease presumptions do not apply to a fire fighter who develops a heart or lung condition and is a regular smoker. Rep. Steve Conway (D-29) PRO – WSCFF CON – AWC, WFCA
HB 2782 – Revised pension rates downward for most state pension systems, including LEOFF 2. Rep. Mark Doumit (D-19) CON – WSSRA
HJR 4220 – Constitution amendment referendum for HB 2496 above. Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-39) PRO – WFCA
ESB 5626 - Changed the definition of veteran to include those who served during peacetime. This definition change affected several things, but notably for civil service preference points. Sen Marilyn Rasmussen (D-2) PRO – VLC, DVA
ESSB 5777 - Requires local government employers to allow access to health insurance plans to retirees on a self pay basis. Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11) PRO – RPECWA, ATU, AFSCME, RFFOW
ESSB 6167 - Made several changes to pension funding statutes, including the adoption of a 4 year smoothing of gains and losses, an increase in the assumed rate of investment returns to 8%, and abolished the Pension Funding Council (governor vetoed this portion). Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3) PRO – WSAC CON – WSCFF, WSSRA, RPECWA
ESB 6380 - Creates new survivor benefit division options for divorced members of the law enforcement officers’ and fire fighters’ retirement system
ESSB 6700 - A person or organization may not, with intent to harm or intimidate, sell, trade, give, publish, distribute, or otherwise release the residential address or telephone number, birthdate, or social security number of any law enforcement-related, corrections officer-related, or court-related employee or volunteer, if categorized as such, without the written permission of the employee or volunteer (court battles ensued). Sen. Bill Finkbeiner (R-45) PRO – COMPAS, DOC, CON – WACO, Allied Daily Newspapers
Make-up of the Senate: 25 Democrats, 24 Republicans
Make-up of the House: 49 D’s, 49 R’s in 2001 – 50 D’s 48 R’s in 2002
Initiatives to the People:
I-747 – This measure would require state and local governments to limit property tax levy increases to 1% per year, unless an increase greater than this limit is approved by the voters at an election. Approved: For - 826,258 Against – 609,266
I-773 - This measure would impose an additional sales tax on cigarettes and a surtax on wholesaled tobacco products. The proceeds would be earmarked for existing programs and expanded health care services for low-income persons. Approved: For - 948,529 Against – 486,912
I-775 – This measure would create a “home care quality authority” to establish qualifications, standards, accountability, training, referral and employment relations for publicly funded individual providers of in-home services to elderly and disabled adults. Approved: For – 880,523 Against – 522,848
I-776 - This measure would require license tab fees to be $30 per year for motor vehicles, including light trucks. Certain local-option vehicle excise taxes and fees used for roads and transit would be repealed. Approved: For – 901,478 Against – 849,986
I-790 - This measure would place management of the law enforcement officers’ and fire fighters’ retirement system, plan 2, in a board of trustees consisting of six plan participants, three employer representatives, and two legislators. Approved: For – 903,113 Against – 800,105
Line of Duty Deaths 2001-2002:
Officer Steven Underwood, Des Moines Police Dept.
Volunteer Firefighter Jeremy Chandler, Grant County FPD #5
Firefighter Tom Craven, USDA Forest Service Firefighter
Firefighter Karen FitzPatrick, USDA Forest Service Firefighter
Firefighter Jessica Johnson, USDA Forest Service Firefighter
Firefighter Devin Weaver, USDA Forest Service Firefighter
Volunteer Firefighter Allan Marriott, Port Townsend Fire Dept.
Deputy Matt Herzog, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office