Here are some brave and bold predictions for the 2014 session of the Washington Legislature.
• During his state-of-the-state speech, Gov. Jay Inslee will try to unify warring political factions by getting Democrats to shout “GO” and Republicans to shout “SEAHAWKS.” His efforts will fail, however, when Democrats complain that leaving the name of the team’s home city out of the cheer is just another example of Seattle-bashing.
• State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken will try to compose a poem for the governor’s state of the state address but will give up when she can’t find anything that rhymes with “Inslee.”
• House leadership will join the battle against global warming by limiting all member floor speeches to two minutes.
• House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom will set the tone for the year with a joint-session duet of the Groucho Marx classic “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It.” (Tom: “I don’t know what they have to say. It makes no difference anyway. Whatever it is, I’m against it.” Chopp: “No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.”)
• Inslee will get his biggest laugh from lawmakers after saying that the 2014 session should be about doing the people’s business and not for scoring political points to use in the fall election.
• The House and the Senate will begin working in earnest shortly after getting permission from Tim Eyman and the Washington Education Association.
• Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Andy Hill will propose that if legislators don’t finish their work on time, they won’t get paid and they’ll have to spend the special session sitting between Sens. Don Benton and Ann Rivers.
• Lobbyists will take to averting their eyes and walking away briskly when they see hungry legislators approaching around dinner time.
• Even though Boeing has already gotten all it could dream of, the company will still come to the governor and legislative leaders with outrageous demands — ya know, just for the hell of it.
• Secretary of State Kim Wyman will inform the Legislature that the barely noticed early August primary still doesn’t give her enough time to prepare for the general election. She will propose moving the 2014 primary to 2013.
• The Majority Coalition Caucus will attempt to break the deadlock on transportation funding by suggesting that roads be funded with a new tax on labor unions.
• Inslee will make a Super Bowl bet with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Inslee will offer up salmon, Almond Roca and a crate of Washington’s finest wine, while Hickenlooper will put up a pound of Boulder Bud from his state’s first legal marijuana store.
• State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken will volunteer to compose a state of the state poem for Hickenlooper.
• After going missing since the first week, House Speaker Frank Chopp will appear on the floor on Groundhog Day, see his shadow, and flee — guaranteeing a special session.
• Education advocates will finally get Inslee’s attention after proving a link between poor-performing schools and global warming.
• The war on tax loopholes will have another successful session when lawmakers close one whole loophole and open only 12 new ones.
• An embarrassed state Department of Transportation will announce that the Bertha tunnel boring machine was blocked by something they should have known was there in abundance — Seattle-centric arrogance.
• After the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, the Public Stadium Authority board will drop all pretense of representing the public and just give CenturyLink Field to Paul Allen.
• After telling lawmakers in January to make more progress on meeting requirements of the landmark McCleary school-funding decision, the state Supreme Court will grade the work of the 2014 session with a signed order that just says: “What, are you kidding?”
• The Legislature will quietly adjourn after members look around and realize that no one has really done anything for more than a month.
Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657 firstname.lastname@example.org