Politics Blog

Keeping up with the state Legislature

In this time of diversified media, citizens have many ways to keep current on events in the state Legislature.

The Bellingham Herald will continue to cover Olympia insofar as it affects our corner of the state, or the main players happen to be people we vote for. (The seats of five of the six legislators who represent Whatcom County will in fact be up for election this year. Only Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, is off the hook.)

So far, we've updated our readers on the progress -- more lack thereof -- of the state Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, which happens to include our two senators: Ranker and Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale. We've also previewed the upcoming session based on interviews with our local six. (Except Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden, who does not return phone calls or emails.) The media is anticipating a low-stakes session because it's an election year. Lawmakers will propose legislation that appeals to their base but has no real chance of passing, given the Dem-GOP split between the two houses.

The Herald has a webpage devoted to news from the state Legislature.


Riley Sweeney, in his blog "The Political Junkie," promises enhanced coverage of the Legislature this year, thanks to anonymous donations from readers. As long as Ranker or someone like that isn't funding this project, this should be OK. Seriously, Sweeney is a seasoned observer of all things political and a fun read, from a partisan-Democrat perspective.

My reading of other local blogs is spotty, so if there's another one out there that does good reporting or analysis on Olympia, please mention it in the comments.

With everything available on the Internet, citizens can customize their legislative experience. Some handy suggestions are provided by The Spokesman-Review, whose readers of course are mostly required to stay in touch with Olympia remotely given that paper's location.

As I said on this blog last year, I get a lot of mileage out of a simple Twitter search. One of my columns on Tweetdeck is devoted to #waleg. That hashtag sees a lot of action, so following it has proven an effective way of taking the pulse of the Legislature.

Chart your own course as you navigate the options for Olympia info. Among Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Camden's suggestions, I particularly like Washington State Wire. Its reporters have insider knowledge and go in great depth. I have found Seattle-based  Crosscut to be thorough in its coverage, sometimes reporting stories that everyone else overlooks.

One reliable, tireless Olympia reporter is Rachel La Corte of AP, who is on Twitter.