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Senate Republican leader says $600,000 splurge on DSHS staff workshops shows contempt for taxpayers

Published on August 28, 2014

Sen. Mark SchoeslerSenate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler today offered the following response to a Seattle radio report that a division of the state Department of Social and Health Services is spending an estimated $600,000 to put on staff workshops in Tacoma.

“The Community Services Division can’t get a handle on the fraud and abuse involving the EBT cards it issues, yet it has no problem bringing thousands of its employees from around the state to a convention center – just so they can spend two days getting ‘engaged’ with their work, at taxpayer expense.

“If DSHS has 600 thousand dollars to splurge on staff workshops, its managers might want to think twice about the requests they bring before our legislative budget committees this next year. And how exactly does this help preserve the state’s ‘safety net,’ which is what people are always asking the Legislature to do?

“The division director indicated these workshops are focused on helping managers communicate the agency mission and vision and goals to their employees. In this day and age, with all the technology that is available to save time and money, it’s hard to understand why DSHS can’t use basic tools like e-mail and webcasting – or even traditional staff meetings – to accomplish that. If this is what the governor meant when he talked about bringing ‘lean management’ to Olympia, it doesn’t seem to be working.”

Schoesler, R-Ritzville, also is a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

 

King pleased by tentative agreement that should allow grain inspections to resume at Vancouver port

Published on August 12, 2014

wheat fieldSen. Curtis King, R-Yakima and co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, made this statement regarding the tentative agreement reached today between United Grain Corporation in Vancouver and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

“The end of these protracted negotiations is good news for working families across Washington. I’m glad that cooler heads prevailed and these two parties were able to reach a compromise. Grain growers in my legislative district, across central and eastern Washington and even those outside our state can continue to bolster our state’s economy without concern that our export partners will find a more dependable source for the products they need.

“I am hearing that grain inspections will resume at noon today and the backlog of ships waiting to berth will be expedited. It will take two weeks to ratify the agreement, but I’m pleased both parties are eager to get Washington’s economy back on track.”

 

The Columbian: Public needs voice in carbon debate

Published on August 4, 2014

The-Columbian-01

Local View: Public needs voice in carbon debate

By Sen. Ann Rivers | Published: August 3, 2014, 6:00 AMSen. Ann Rivers

 

There’s enough chatter at the Capitol about a pair of climate-change policies — familiar but complex proposals known as “cap-and-trade” and “low-carbon fuel standards” — that it’s time to ask: What do these confusing and complicated discussions mean for the average Washington resident?

 

Both cap-and-trade and LCFS deal with controlling the production of carbon. The two main sources of carbon emissions are motor vehicles and power plants that generate electricity.

 

Washington is already a low-carbon place — especially when compared to a carbon giant such as China, which produces around 8,000 million metric tons annually compared to Washington’s 96 million. And while China’s carbon emissions are on the rise, Washington continues to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint without layering on new costly and intrusive regulations.

 

That said, we need to have these discussions if Washington wants to be a leader in energy. Last year, a bipartisan group of legislators joined to form the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup to begin studying climate policy and its effect on family budgets and job creation.

 

One study shows that cap-and-trade could ultimately cost each Washington household upwards of $8,200 in disposable income per year and eliminate up to 82,000 jobs.

Read more…

 

Sen. Braun: Inslee seeks to expand Ecology’s reach, authority

Published on August 4, 2014

Braun Floor

 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement regarding Washington’s water quality standards includes a dramatic proposal that raises many red flags for communities and families throughout the state.

There is consensus that it is time to update our water standards. No one is suggesting that we should do less to protect our environment, but the goal must be to balance cleaner water with protecting family budgets and jobs. What we don’t need is another war on jobs with more uncertainty and threats of regulations that are impossible to measure or attain.

In addition to new rules on water quality standards, Gov. Inslee said that it was time to “take a broader approach to areas that are not currently regulated.” He defined those areas as “up stream at the source,” and that “the majority of toxins come from what we build.”

 

Read the rest of the guest column in the Longview Daily News, here.

 

Rivers earns Crayon Award for work to promote early learning

Published on July 25, 2014

Sen. Ann RiversSen. Ann Rivers’ commitment to protect and grow early-learning programs in Washington has earned her a Silver Crayon Award from the Early Learning Action Alliance.

 

“It is always an honor to be recognized for the work we do in Olympia, but I am particularly proud of this award because it acknowledges the value and importance of investing in early learners, particularly those kids who start out with the odds stacked against them,” said Rivers, R-La Center.

 

“In a perfect world, a child would have two parents who are actively involved in its life, but the reality is that that doesn’t always happen. I have spoken time and again about the responsibility of legislators to take care of our most vulnerable, and as a state we need to make sure the necessary supports are in place from the very beginning because every child deserves the chance to succeed in life.”

Read more…