The state Legislature is at a standstill, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t going on behind the scenes. (At least, that’s what lawmakers keep telling us.)
To pull back that curtain, I decided a few weeks ago to sit down with lawmakers at local bars in Olympia and ask them — over baskets of tater tots — what the heck is going on.
This week, state Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, joined me to talk about the debate that’s raging in the Legislature over taxes and education.
He also explains why he couldn’t keep his job as his college’s mascot — and, what exactly is it like inside that Blue Devil suit?
Lots of potato products are consumed in this video; consider yourself warned.
Check out older episodes below.
Talking fashion, taxes and weed with Sen. Reuven Carlyle
I sit down with state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, to talk about why the Legislature can’t seem to agree on the best way to fix the way the state pays for schools.
But first, we talk about what everyone really wants to know: Where does he find all those plaid blazers he wears at the Capitol, and what’s it like being the de facto fashionista of the Legislature?
“It's not very difficult to be seen as a fashionista down here,” Carlyle says.
Carlyle also talks about why he underestimated how much money Washington residents would spend on legal marijuana, and whether the Legislature will adjourn before or after the debut of flying cars.
Eating totchos and finding real news with Sen. Marko Liias
In the back room of one of Olympia’s most famous dives, state Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, and I dig into a plate of totchos and talk about the new law he sponsored to teach kids about media literacy. What are some ways students — and adults — can tell something is fake news?
Along the way, we talk about the history of boozing in the Senate, his co-ed frat house in Olympia and whether the Legislature might actually finish its work before he decides to shave his beard for the summer.
(We also explain what totchos are.)
Why Republican Sen. Joe Fain is fighting for paid parental leave
In this episode, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, talks about why he and other lawmakers are fighting to get paid time off for new parents or people with family emergencies. As a new dad, he has some thoughts.
We also delve into the inner workings of the state Senate, including why wine and chocolate sometimes appear randomly and what Fain does as the Senate’s majority floor leader.
Extended chitchat about tater tot dipping sauces is just a bonus.
Debating police use of force and the ways of millennials with Rep. Morgan Irwin
Freshman state Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, shares his thoughts as a Seattle cop on what the state should — and shouldn’t — be doing to adjust its law that protects police from criminal prosecution when they fire their weapons. Washington’s law is unique in the nation by requiring prosecutors to prove an officer acted with “malice” and without “good faith” when using deadly force.
He and I also talk about the awkwardness of transitioning from average guy to state lawmaker, and whether people underestimate our generation of millennials. For instance, do people really think millennials — often described as those 35 and under — can’t use the mail?
Talking ‘Law and Order’ and special session with Rep. Laurie Jinkins
State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, shares how her love of ‘Law and Order: SVU’ sometimes intersects with her work chairing the House Judiciary Committee, and why she started tweeting pictures of oddball socks this year at the Legislature.
She also attempts to explain why state lawmakers once again couldn’t finish its work on time this year, and why special sessions have become such a routine.