The GOP: Antifamily
Republican state senator Dan Swecker (R-20, Rochester) and seven Republican cosponsors in the state senate (along with three wayward Democrats) have filed legislation calling for an amendment to the state constitution outlawing same-sex marriage.
The senate joint resolution would need to pass both the state senate and state house by two-thirds majorities (not likely given the 32—17 and 62—36 Democratic majorities, respectively). And even if that happened, the assault on gays would still have to go to the voters, where a majority would have to sign off on enshrining discrimination into Washington's constitution.
The bill hasn't been able to get a hearing and Swecker's office acknowledged that they didn't expect it to.
We're so glad the GOP in Olympia is busy carrying out the pressing business of the state. NANCY DREW
The FDA: Antiherbalist
The Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation into the Herbalist, a Ravenna natural-remedy store, for supposedly making false statements on labels of its house-brand tinctures and supplements.
According to store manager Brian Blinn, the feds began their investigation three weeks ago after examining products with names like Dream Sleep and Vagi-Mend, which promise to induce deep sleep and, we think, healthy hoo-has.
Blinn says the store is being unfairly singled out, since many herbal products are labeled with similar promising titles. Blinn says the FDA, which did not return our calls by press time, has promised to resolve the issue by Monday, February 12. The agency has the power to seize misleadingly labeled products, issue thousands of dollars in fines, and, through the courts, close down businesses. ANGELA VALDEZ
The State: Antibouncer
Seattle state senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36) is sponsoring three nightlife-related bills this session. The first, a much-pared version of an earlier bill establishing a statewide license for nightclubs, gives the state liquor board the right to decide whether the number of bars and clubs in an area is "adequate," but no longer would prohibit all-ages shows, as the earlier proposal would have done. The second, innocuously titled "Concerning Bouncers," would require anyone who works as a bouncer to get a bouncer license. That involves paying a fee, passing a background check, and going through extensive bouncer "education." (Guy at Linda's who's worked there for eight years, get ready for eight hours of classroom training!) Legislative staffers apparently had some trouble getting a handle on how many people there were in Washington's "bouncer industry," which should have been an indication to legislators that being a bouncer is a bit more ad hoc than, say, getting a job as an armed security guard. Finally, Kohl-Welles is sponsoring another bill that would extend the date when automatic sprinklers will be required in all large clubs from the end of this year to December 1, 2009. ERICA C. BARNETT