Its House Speaker Laurie Jinkins!

Pearl Jam is releasing a new album: It will be their 11th studio album. "The new release, the band’s first since 2013’s Grammy winner 'Lightning Bolt,' is due March 27 on Monkeywrench Records," writes the Seattle Times.

Stevens Pass is closed "indefinitely" due to trees and power lines being weighed down with heavy snow. "Steady snows also wreaked havoc across parts of Western Washington Sunday night as a stubborn Convergence Zone brought hours of steady snowfall in the North and Central Sound areas, leaving some towns covered in 4-9 inches of snow, thousands without power, and several roads closed due to fallen trees and icy pavement," writes KOMO.

The Stranger's Rich Smith went down to Olympia today to check in on good old Matt Shea and our new House Speaker. Take it away, Rich:

Right-wing groups organized a Republican “unity” rally in Olympia: On the first day of the legislative session, approximately 18 people and Tim Eyman gathered at the steps of the Capitol for a rally to “Uphold the People’s Vote.” With flurries flying and bitter winds blowing, the small group held up signs supportive of $30 car tabs and Rep. Matt Shea, the Spokane Valley Republican who was booted from the party after an investigation revealed him to be a domestic terrorist. The rumor was that Shea planned to address the crowd, but he didn’t show up. Instead, a few blustery Republicans lined up to deliver awkward speeches ripped straight from the rants of conservative radio hosts. Such is the state of Republicans in Washington.

There’s no reason not to expel Shea: Of the five or so people who stood in support of Shea, one was a guy from Seattle who has good taste in video rental stores (Scarecrow) but bad taste in politicians (Shea), and another said she fully supported the representative despite having only heard of him for the first time two weeks ago. Suffice it to say, there doesn’t appear to be much of a movement (west of the mountains, at least) surrounding the embattled, um, domestic terrorist, and so any Republican rhetoric about “honoring” the vote of the people is complete bullshit.

Extremely on brand: Rep. Brad Klippert, famous for yelling about anal sex and “sad-ism” on the House floor for a solid minute in opposition to a bill that would go easier on teen sexters, dressed in cowboy drag and scream-read the preamble to the state and U.S. Constitution for some reason. He declined to read Section 1 of the Constitution, which grants all legislative Powers to representatives. Meanwhile, Sen. Fortunato, who is currently polling below Tim Eyman in the governor’s race, said he was “a little bummed” about Democrats boasting majorities in the House and Senate, but said he was dropping a “clean $30 car tab bill to remove any ambiguity from what the heck people voted for.”

Brad in drag.
Brad in drag. Rich Smith

Some room for compromise? Sen. Doug Ericksen, who works as a consultant for Cambodia’s dictatorship in addition to representing the people of Ferndale, said this session “should be about reducing” property taxes, while Rep. Jim Walsh, an Aberdeen Republican who was sued for banning constituents from his Facebook page, advocated for the government providing “essential services” to people. Given these two priorities, I’m looking forward to Ericksen coming out in support the Senate Democrat’s version of the capital gains tax, which would lower property taxes on Washingtonians while slightly rebalancing our burdensome tax code. I will also look forward to Walsh’s support for the governor’s plan to tap the rainy day fund to provide “essential services” to the homeless.

In better news: Rep. Laurie Jinkins officially became the first woman and first out lesbian House Speaker on Monday. Some legislators wore white as a nod to the suffragettes, “who marched, who organized and got arrested, until it was possible for a woman to vote, run for office, or become Speaker of the House,” Jinkins said in her opening speech. Women have only been able to vote for 100 years in this country.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins is the first woman and the first out lesbian to hold the gavel as House Speaker.
House Speaker Laurie Jinkins is the first woman and the first out lesbian to hold the gavel as House Speaker. Rich Smith

Thanks, Rich!

Seattle City Council President Lorena González delivered her baby on Friday: “In 2015, I became the first Latina elected to Seattle City Council in the City’s history. Now, I’m one of the first two mothers who were pregnant and gave birth while serving on the Council," González said in a statement. "I am also the first to serve as both Council President and a parent to a newborn. I’m proud to be part of a wave of women nationwide who are fighting every day for working families." González will return as Council President after her 12-weeks of parental leave.

Are you impersonating Lester? Knock it off.

Everyone's got an Oscar nominations take: Read this one.

But if you want some more thoughts... Joker is dumb as hell, but NBC predicts that "the hand-wringing, hot takes and Twitter feuds that accompanied the release of Joker in October could make a reprisal ahead of the ceremony Feb. 9." People actually saw this year's Best Picture nominations in theaters—lots of people! But what's the deal with J.Lo's snub? Did Uncut Gems really stand a chance at getting a nomination? Does the Academy think Little Women directed itself? And, wow, Netflix's animation team really came out of nowhere. My take is that I'm pissed that Ruth E. Carter wasn't nominated for her costumes in Dolemite Is My Name:

Sanders is rising in the polls, Warren is slipping, and now we've got a timely oppo dump: Did Sanders tell Warren that "he did not believe a woman could win" during a 2018 meeting between them? That's the big question being debated today. “It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders told CNN, before accusing the Warren camp of "lying about what happened." More from CNN:

The two agreed that if they ultimately faced each other as presidential candidates, they should remain civil and avoid attacking one another, so as not to hurt the progressive movement. They also discussed how to best take on President Donald Trump, and Warren laid out two main reasons she believed she would be a strong candidate: She could make a robust argument about the economy and earn broad support from female voters.

Sanders responded that he did not believe a woman could win.

The description of that meeting is based on the accounts of four people: two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter, and two people familiar with the meeting.

More polls: I'm tired of polls.

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Abby Huntsman quits The View: My least favorite View host is leaving to go work on her father's gubernatorial race in Utah. She's been on the show for a little under two years and was brought on to be a moderate voice at the table. Her last day will be Friday.

More quitters: Queen Elizabeth II has agreed to "let" Harry and Meghan split their time between the U.K. and Canada—"but she said she 'would have preferred' that they remain 'full-time working Members of the Royal Family.'" There's also some discussion around whether or not they'll be stripped of their royal titles. And will Canadian taxpayers have to pay their security bill? All I know is people can't stop talking about this Megxit.

Tonight's the 10-year anniversary of Collide-O-Scope: Congrats you guys!