Over on Slog, Josh writes about outgoing state Sen. Brian Weinstein and his quest to pass his Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights before he retires at the end on this session. Some had suggested Sen. Weinstein was using his Senate committee to hold hostage a condo conversion bill recently passed by the House; Sen. Weinstein, a consumer protection champion, denies the two are related, telling Josh “I expect to pass it.”
He also said he had a good meeting with House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill) about the homeowners’ rights bill. Last year, Weinstein accused Chopp of caving to the BIAW by snuffing Weinstein’s homeowner bill.
He didn’t say Chopp promised to move the bill forward, but he did say: “It was a good discussion. He asked good questions and it was a good meeting. Last year at this time, the bill was dead.”
Oh to be a fly on the wall at that meeting. Sen. Weinstein has a well deserved reputation as a tough negotiator, but what kind of leverage can a retiring senator hold over our famously risk-averse House Speaker?
Well, the buzz amongst the consumer protection community is that Sen. Weinstein has been quietly talking about possibly unretiring should his bill fail to get through the Legislature this session… potentially creating a very messy Democratic primary battle between an incumbent senator and newly minted Democrat, Rep. Fred Jarrett.
Did Sen. Weinstein make this threat to Speaker Chopp? I’ve got no idea, but it certainly would be a doozy. Sen. Weinstein, for all his merits, can be a bit abrasive, and I’ve heard that our amiable Speaker doesn’t like him all that much — so buying Weinstein a one-way ticket out of Olympia might be well worth the price of the bill to both Chopp and the BIAW. And the last thing Speaker Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown want at this late stage in the game is to have their neatly arranged 41st LD races thrown into disarray. The Democrat seeking to replace Jarrett in the House, Renton’s Marcie Maxwell, is no sure thing, and a Godzilla versus Mothra battle for the Senate seat would surely draw money and resources out of the House race.
The easiest way to avoid this mess is to pass Sen. Weinstein’s bill, which merely gives buyers of new construction a minimum legal warranty on the biggest purchase they’ll ever make in their lives. (Two years on materials and workmanship, ten years on structural defects.) And what’s so wrong about that?