Some parting thoughts with the Capitol in the rearview mirror

Published on July 21, 2017
The speaker of the House is known for holing up in his office, and as the 2017 legislative session fizzled to a strange end yesterday, the news media took note of that more than usual. One journalist reported how Speaker Frank Chopp hadn’t spoken with reporters all week about the two things that I hoped... Read More

Crucial rural water-rights issue holds up adjournment of 2017 legislative session

Published on July 10, 2017
Washington’s 2017 legislative session enters its seventh record-breaking month as a water-rights issue critical to rural property owners becomes the central issue at the statehouse. Lawmakers passed a budget June 30, averting a partial shutdown of state government – normally one of the final votes of any legislative session. But adjournment was delayed when the... Read More

Brown: Inslee vying for title of most anti-jobs governor in Washington history

Published on July 07, 2017
Sen. Sharon Brown, the state Senate’s leading advocate for jobs and economic development, voiced outrage today at Gov. Jay Inslee’s veto of a tax incentive aimed at spurring economic growth and increasing manufacturing jobs. “Since I came to the Senate, attracting employers to Washington and helping them create jobs has been one of my top... Read More

Rossi: Inslee stabs Washington workers in the back with jobs-bill veto

Published on July 07, 2017
Governor quashes hope for manufacturing sector, breaks budget deal and opens Boeing up to international sanctions with a single stroke of his pen Gov. Jay Inslee today turned his back on Washington manufacturers and Washingtonians looking for work in the struggling manufacturing sector, vetoing a job-promoting, tax-fairness measure that received strong bipartisan support from lawmakers... Read More

Our efforts to protect rural Washington’s future.

Published on July 05, 2017
Where does the Hirst Fix stand as of March 31 Senate Bill 5239 Press release on passage of SB 5239 Sen. Judy Warnick’s testimony on the Hirst fix Sen. Shelly Short discusses Hirst Read More

What the sponsor of the Hirst-fix legislation has been saying

Published on July 05, 2017
Read more about the what the chair of the Senate’s water-related committee, Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, has been doing to help rural families suffering as a result of the flawed Hirst decision. Since the regular session, Warnick who sponsored the Hirst-fix legislation, Senate Bill 5239, has been working to elevate the issue and keep... Read More

Press Coverage of Hirst

Published on July 05, 2017
Legislature must find water-well solution – Spokesman Editorial The Impact “Hirst decision debated between House and Senate” – KOZI “Legislature gearing up for Hirst bill negotiations” – The Columbian “State Senate passes bill (again) aimed at solving controversy over rural wells” – Bellingham Herald “Some home building halted as counties respond to water-rights case” –... Read More

Details about the Hirst decision

Published on July 05, 2017
In late 2016, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling resulting from a challenge to rules in Whatcom County relating to the Growth Management Act.   The ruling turned decades of water law on its head by requiring local jurisdictions, such as counties, to make legal determinations on water availability before issuing a building permit,... Read More

Work continues, but what a day June 30 was

Published on July 01, 2017
The drive home to Adams County today gave me time to reflect on the magnitude of what the Legislature accomplished yesterday. It was something. A new operating budget is always a heavy lift by itself, but the 2017-19 budget had to dovetail with the school-funding reforms that represented five years of collective effort (more for... Read More

A generational solution that puts students, hard-working taxpayers first

Published on June 30, 2017
I’m reminded today how more than seven years ago, a group of Republican senators proposed a way to significantly increase state funding for public schools and in turn take the pressure off local school districts to come up with money for basic education. I was a co-sponsor of that landmark plan, introduced by former Senator... Read More

Former governor Spellman on education: Constitution, conscience, and common sense

Published on June 22, 2017
John Spellman honored me with a visit yesterday. It’s been a while since our previous time together, but Washington’s 18th governor, at age 90, is as sharp and inquisitive as I remembered. In 12 years as King County executive and four years as governor, he accomplished much, as his “Legacy Washington” story explains. However, the... Read More

‘No government shutdown’ assures Senate majority leader

Published on June 21, 2017
Schoesler maintains confidence that budget deal will be reached in time to avoid partial shutdown OLYMPIA…Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement of a third special legislative session to finalize negotiations on a budget for the 2017-19 biennium. “I fully expect the budget teams to submit a... Read More

Senate passes real car-tab relief for third time

Published on June 13, 2017
Senators Rossi, O’Ban call on House Democrats to ‘do the right thing’ For the third time this year, the Senate today passed a measure aimed at giving taxpayers real relief from Sound Transit’s controversial and inflated car-tab taxes. Senate Bill 5893, which passed the chamber 25-22, would slash car-tab taxes in the Sound Transit taxing... Read More

Majority leader confident Legislature will reach budget deal soon

Published on June 13, 2017
Bipartisan plan to fully fund basic education expected to account for over 50 percent of spending   OLYMPIA…As the Legislature’s second special session for 2017 enters a third week, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler today expressed optimism and confidence that lawmakers will reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a new budget before the end of... Read More

Budget talks continue…and so does the spin

Published on June 12, 2017
The former FBI director spoke last week about the challenge posed by media coverage of sensitive topics involving classified information. Because officials who know the details aren’t inclined to talk to reporters, he told a Senate committee, they have to “leave it” when reports are off-target. Budget negotiations in Olympia (which have been going since... Read More

Only 37 percent would still vote to approve Sound Transit 3

Published on June 07, 2017
State senators who serve areas within the Sound Transit taxing district say it’s no surprise that new poll results show support for Sound Transit 3 has plummeted 17 points since the November election, when it passed 54 percent to 46 percent. If given a chance to vote again, 51 percent of likely voters would reject... Read More

The state’s ‘commitment to tolerance’ gets a test at Evergreen

Published on May 31, 2017
Jerry Kulm graduated from Ritzville High School in 1967, the same year legislators in Olympia decided to create what would be the first four-year college in southwest Washington. He died serving in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam in 1970, a year before classes began at that new institution – The Evergreen State College, here in... Read More

Don’t be taken in by the spin – legislators are negotiating

Published on May 22, 2017
Democrat lawmakers still are trying to convince anyone within earshot that our Senate majority is boycotting negotiations toward a new operating budget. For instance, the Senate’s minority-caucus chair recently wrote that Democrats are “ready to sit down at the table.” Right after accusing our Senate majority of employing “alternative facts.” A few days earlier the... Read More

Busting the Democrats’ myth about ‘Connecting Washington’

Published on May 18, 2017
All year long Democrat lawmakers have mentioned the “Connecting Washington” transportation package of 2015 when talking about reaching major agreements this year. For the longest time that didn’t make sense. There wouldn’t have been a 2015 package if Democrats hadn’t fumbled the first try in 2013. Why keep bringing it up? Now it’s clear. Democrats... Read More

House majority plan would have King County property owners pay more

Published on May 18, 2017
My Democratic counterparts in the House criticize how our Senate majority’s education-funding reforms, and the budget proposal which supports them, would keep property taxes as the primary source of support for schools. They claim a property tax “is indiscriminate, hitting rich and poor people alike – and disproportionately hitting certain districts, especially in the Puget... Read More

Senate Law and Justice Committee to consider charges against Sound Transit

Published on May 15, 2017
Today the chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Sen. Mike Padden, announced that he is planning to have the panel look into charges that Sound Transit engaged in a “systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of the ST3 authorization to legislators and the public.” In a letter to Senators... Read More

In the News: State senators claim Sound Transit misled public about ST3 project impact and cost

Published on May 12, 2017
KOMO 4 News -Seattle   SEATTLE – Two state senators claim Sound Transit misled the public about the cost of the ST3 project. This comes as more and more drivers are upset about their skyrocketing car tab fees. “Last year, we paid $200 this year $400,” said driver Hai Pham, as he renewed his car... Read More

In the News: Local lawmakers call for investigation into Sound Transit 3 measure

Published on May 12, 2017
KIRO 7 – Seattle Sound Transit is getting more pressure about the high cost of car tab fees. Two lawmakers in Olympia accuse the transit agency of deceiving the voters and the legislature. Senators Steve O’Ban and Dino Rossi are calling for an investigation into whether Sound Transit engaged in a “systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent... Read More

Rossi, O’Ban call for investigatory hearings on Sound Transit

Published on May 11, 2017
Sens. Steve O’Ban and Dino Rossi are calling for an investigation into whether Sound Transit engaged in a “systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of the ST3 authorization to legislators and the public.”  In a letter sent today to the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and the chair of the... Read More

School administrators look to Goebbels, Lenin for advice?

Published on May 05, 2017
Wearing a T-shirt with an image of a prominent Nazi war criminal might be enough to get a student sent home. But the Washington Association of School Administrators thinks it is OK to share public-relations advice from a prominent Nazi war criminal if you’re trying to get school administrators to be effective advocates. The Washington... Read More

McCleary and the income tax

Published on May 03, 2017
Published opinion pieces from members of the Majority Coalition Caucus draw the connections between McCleary and the long-running effort to impose an income tax.   Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, in The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, Jan. 8, 2017: Income tax is the real issue, not schools “This is the cleverest campaign for an income tax ever... Read More

A capital gains tax: First step toward a general income tax

Published on May 03, 2017
Whether a capital gains income tax is constitutional is one issue; whether it would end with that is another. Capital gains income tax revenue is highly volatile, as are other taxes aimed at the wealthy. When the economy goes into a downturn, lawmakers will be left to scramble for new sources of money, as has... Read More

Setting up a test case for an income tax

Published on May 03, 2017
Advocates of an income tax last year managed to collect signatures to place one proposal on the ballot in the city of Olympia. When voters rejected the idea, they took their campaign to the city of Seattle — where the council voted May 1 to direct staff to come up with a detailed proposal. Though... Read More

Senate backs bill to slash car-tab taxes, eliminate dubious $12 billion price tag

Published on May 02, 2017
The Senate today took direct aim at Sound Transit’s controversial and inflated car-tab taxes with a vote to send an amended version of Senate Bill 5893 back to the House of Representatives for consideration. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, would slash car-tab taxes in the Sound Transit taxing district by 55 percent and... Read More

Senate passes Corrections reform bill a second time, keeps issue alive

Published on May 02, 2017
OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate passed a Department of Corrections reform bill for the second time Tuesday, assuring the issue will remain under active consideration during the Legislature’s current special session. Senate Bill 5294, prompted by last year’s early-release scandal, was one of several bills revived Tuesday as the full Senate met for the first... Read More

In first vote of the special session, Senate approves Hirst-fix legislation again

Published on May 02, 2017
Vote gives Democrat-controlled House second chance to help rural families without water  While work on education-funding reform and a new state operating budget continues during the Legislature’s special session, the Senate today took up and passed Senate Bill 5239, known as the Hirst fix, to bring needed access to water for rural households. Sponsored by... Read More

More resources regarding a state-level income tax

Published on May 02, 2017
Proposals for an income tax — even in the form of a narrowly based tax on capital gains income — are prompting dismay among those who recognize Washington’s unique economy is built around its unique tax structure. Consequences could be dramatic.   Matt McIlwain, Madrona Venture Capital, in Seattle Times, March 15, 2017: More taxation... Read More

Democrats get touchy when someone else touches their tax ideas

Published on April 28, 2017
I don’t remember the governor saying a thing earlier this month when the House Finance Committee had a public hearing on the smorgasbord of taxes in House Bill 2186. But he declared it a waste of time for our Ways and Means Committee to have a public hearing this week on Senate Bill 5929, which... Read More

Stronger protections against squatters approved by Legislature

Published on April 20, 2017
Washington homeowners will have stronger protections against squatters after legislation sponsored by Sen. Hans Zeiger today cleared the Washington State Legislature. Zeiger’s legislation, which now heads to the governor to be signed into law, gives law enforcement clear authority to evict squatters and bar them from returning to the property they had illegally occupied. “We’ve... Read More

Senate continues to expand public access through remote testimony

Published on April 17, 2017
Update to leaders notes significant progress; House fails to offer report Since 2014, Senators Mike Padden and Sharon Brown have led an effort to increase the opportunities for public participation in the legislative process. The two recently requested an update from Senate and House administrators on progress to enable testimony from places outside of the... Read More

Flawed water-rights ruling must be reversed

Published on April 12, 2017
BY SEN. RANDI BECKER Rarely does the Legislature see an issue that causes as much alarm as the state Supreme Court’s ruling last year in a water-rights case. The decision in Hirst vs. Whatcom County has become one of those issues that wells up from the ground and forces the Legislature to take notice —... Read More

In the News: Making Washington More Appealing For Manufacturing

Published on April 11, 2017
By Mike Richards -The Lens April 6, 2017 A Senate bill making its way through the Washington State Legislature aims to attract more manufacturing companies to move to the state and incentivize those and any existing businesses to remain and build their projects within Washington. SB 5642, which would offer tax deferrals for eligible manufacturing projects to be reinvested into job training... Read More

Democrat excuses for delaying Hirst fix don’t hold water

Published on April 11, 2017
This past week the House majority and the governor admitted they are in no rush to find a remedy for the Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. House Democrat leaders said they’d address Hirst in “negotiations.” Governor Inslee calls Hirst a “distraction” from work to reform the K-12 funding system. Those excuses are full of holes. After... Read More

House approves Brown’s ‘Youth Behavioral Health Protection Act’

Published on April 10, 2017
Today the House of Representatives passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown that is aimed at better integrating mental and behavioral health services with pediatric primary-care services. “You need prevention, but to get prevention you need access to care,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “This bill is a result of community conversations around the disproportionate number... Read More

Taking the classroom to the Capitol with technology

Published on March 30, 2017
Dragging a class of high school students 42 miles from their South King County classroom to the state Capitol is rarely an option during the busy school year. But this week an Auburn High School journalism class did manage to speak directly with Sen. Joe Fain, their state senator, about legislation they were tracking in... Read More

Senate capital budget would provide unprecedented support for education

Published on March 28, 2017
Water needs, mental-health services and natural resources are also big winners in Senate plan Today the Senate released a bipartisan, capital budget plan that would dedicate a record $1.1 billion toward school construction. Senate Bill 5086 appropriates $2.53 billion in bonds and $1.46 billion in cash for the 2017-19 biennium and the 2017 supplemental budget.... Read More

O’Ban, Rossi say Sound Transit move to engage misses mark

Published on March 23, 2017
The Sound Transit board passed a motion today to authorize its CEO “to continue communications and engagement with the State Legislature” in order to “pursue options to address public concerns” about its inflated car tab tax calculation method.  Sens. Steve O’Ban and Dino Rossi said the premise of the motion does not address the public... Read More

Car tab collection at risk for Sound Transit with O’Ban amendment to transportation Budget

Published on March 23, 2017
Sound Transit faces a new hurdle for their notoriously inflated car tab valuations—the Senate transportation budget. An amendment to the Senate transportation budget passed the Senate Transportation Committee today that would prohibit the Department of Licensing (DOL) from collecting a motor vehicle excise tax for a regional transportation authority unless Senate Bill 5893 is enacted.... Read More

Senate majority unites behind measure to stop unfair Sound Transit taxes

Published on March 16, 2017
New O’Ban-Rossi bill would prohibit state from collecting taxes for regional agency Today the Senate’s Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus increased pressure on Sound Transit to treat its taxpayers fairly by proposing that the state Department of Licensing stop collecting the transit agency’s inflated car-tab taxes. “If Sound Transit wants to tax people on a false vehicle... Read More

Senator King tells transit agency to consider soldiers and find a fair solution

Published on March 16, 2017
Before he adjourned a recent working session of the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. King urged Sound Transit officials to consider the impact their car tab tax valuations were having on soldiers.  Sen. King related how soldiers had come to him and described struggling to make ends meet.  He said they told him that they didn’t... Read More

Senate majority unites behind measure to stop unfair Sound Transit taxes

Published on March 16, 2017
New O’Ban-Rossi bill would prohibit state from collecting taxes for regional agency Yesterday, the Senate’s Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus increased pressure on Sound Transit to treat its taxpayers fairly by proposing that the state Department of Licensing stop collecting the transit agency’s inflated car-tab taxes. “If Sound Transit wants to tax people on a false vehicle... Read More

Senate approves temporary extension of local school levy rate with increased accountability

Published on March 08, 2017
The Washington State Senate today approved legislation extending a temporary increase in the maximum amount school districts can raise through property taxes for public schools and implementing reforms to provide accountability for how local levies are collected and accounted. “Washington students deserve a comprehensive solution that provides a world-class education system instead of a temporary... Read More

Brown’s nuclear SMR, hydropower bills passed by Senate

Published on March 07, 2017
Today the Senate advanced two measures sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown aimed at encouraging and expanding the use of carbon-free power and emerging energy technologies – including incremental hydropower, nuclear power and small modular reactors. “We all support clean energy, but the key is doing so in a way that works for employers, energy consumers... Read More

Senate’s minority Democrats vote down proposed income-tax ban

Published on March 07, 2017
OLYMPIA…The Democrat minority in the state Senate today voted against a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban a tax on individual incomes. Senate Joint Resolution 8204 needed a two-thirds majority to pass – meaning 33 votes from the 49-member Senate. All 25 members of the Senate majority supported the measure, but only two members of... Read More

Senate votes unanimously for Corrections reform bill, prompted by early-release scandal

Published on March 06, 2017
OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate voted unanimously Monday for a bill that makes sweeping reforms to the Department of Corrections in the wake of last year’s early-release scandal. Senate Bill 5294, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, enacts recommendations made by the Senate Law and Justice Committee last year following a months-long investigation into... Read More

O’Ban and Rossi challenge constitutionality of Sound Transit car tab tax

Published on March 03, 2017
Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, and Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish, informed Attorney General Bob Ferguson today that based on information they’ve reviewed, the current valuation Sound Transit uses to calculate car tab taxes is unconstitutional. In a letter hand-delivered to Ferguson’s office this morning, the senators explain the act that authorized Sound Transit to use... Read More

Senate passes bill to increase accountability of DSHS’s Division of Behavioral Health & Recovery

Published on March 02, 2017
  The Senate passed a bill Wednesday which would require stricter oversight of the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery within the state Department of Social and Health Services. DBHR is responsible for licensing, inspecting and certifying behavioral-health providers who manage outpatient drug and alcohol services.   Sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, Substitute Senate... Read More

‘Andy’s smiling down on us’: Late senator’s goal for serving residents with developmental disabilities is well within reach

Published on March 02, 2017
The late state Sen. Andy Hill wanted to eliminate the backlog of Washington residents with developmental disabilities who had requested but weren’t receiving state services. Just four months after Hill’s untimely death, that goal will almost certainly be achieved by June – just as the Redmond lawmaker had hoped. A new report from the Department... Read More

Senate approves Walsh bill expanding dental coverage for pregnant women, diabetics

Published on March 02, 2017
OLYMPIA – The state Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would expand dental coverage for some of the state’s neediest Medicaid recipients – and likely save the state money in the long run. Senate Bill 5540, sponsored by Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, would make it easier for pregnant women and diabetics to see dentists... Read More

State Hispanic Commission recognizes our efforts to improve minority-owned business opportunities

Published on March 01, 2017
Senate passes the Small Business Bonding Relief bill Read More

State Hispanic Commission recognizes our efforts to improve minority-owned business opportunities

Published on March 01, 2017
Senate passes the Small Business Bonding Relief bill   Read More

Warnick legislation to fix flawed Hirst water decision clears Senate

Published on March 01, 2017
  Sen. Judy Warnick’s legislation to fix the Hirst decision was approved Tuesday evening by the state Senate, despite efforts by some opposition Democrats to delay a legislative response that would aid rural homeowners. The decision, issued by the state Supreme Court in late 2016, effectively prevents the drilling of small, household wells without costly... Read More

Becker bill to improve contracting diversity at UW passes Senate

Published on March 01, 2017
The Senate today passed legislation aimed at improving the University of Washington’s diversity in awarding its contracts for capital projects.   Senate Bill 5631, sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, would make the contracting process more inclusive of women-owned and minority-owned businesses in projects where critical patient care or highly specialized medical research are involved. It... Read More

Warnick bill would grant new protections for state’s cattle industry

Published on February 28, 2017
Sen. Judy Warnick’s legislation to have air-quality rules treat cattle feedlots the same as other agricultural operations was approved today by the state Senate. Agricultural operations are exempt from state clean-air rules; Warnick’s Senate Bill 5196 would extend the exemption to feedlots while establishing a process and guidelines for addressing activities that may be detrimental... Read More

Washington dogs ‘pawsitively’ ecstatic for new humane treatment law

Published on February 28, 2017
The Senate just passed my bill to help keep dogs safe and healthy when they’re leashed and left alone. This legislation not only had the support of the full Senate and animal care advocates, but also every dog I spoke to on the issue. Read more about it below. Sen. Joe Fain, animal advocates, and... Read More

KING 5: Car-tab controversy makes its way to the state capitol

Published on February 24, 2017
  Click here to watch video. The controversy over increased car-tab fees caused by the passage of Sound Transit Three has now made its way to the state capitol. Two bills introduced in Olympia could bring drivers and taxpayers some relief. Senate Bill 5817 would give individual cities and counties the right to opt out of... Read More

Senate votes to make 4th DUI a felony – for 6th time

Published on February 23, 2017
OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate voted 41-0 Thursday morning to make the fourth DUI a felony in Washington state, marking the sixth time the Senate has given such a measure a unanimous vote since 2015. The previous five times, House leaders have declined to bring the measure to the House floor for a vote. “Repeat... Read More

Addressing ‘unconscionable’ agency actions that threaten public safety

Published on February 16, 2017
My bill advocates stricter oversight for ‘unconscionable’ agency actions The effectiveness of court-ordered drug and alcohol counseling for those convicted of driving under the influence has been compromised by the mismanagement of complaints and the settlement process for license violations by those trusted to hold counseling providers accountable. I have responded with Senate Bill 5705,... Read More

Becker seeks to address ‘unconscionable’ agency actions with stricter oversight

Published on February 15, 2017
Sen. Randi Becker says the effectiveness of court-ordered drug and alcohol counseling for those convicted of driving under the influence has been compromised by the mismanagement of complaints and the settlement process for license violations by those trusted to hold counseling providers accountable.   Becker, R-Eatonville, has responded with Senate Bill 5705, which would require... Read More

Bill prompted by Corrections scandal set for Thursday vote in Senate committee

Published on February 13, 2017
OLYMPIA – A bill prompted by deadly prisoner releases by the state Department of Corrections is set for a vote Thursday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, a year after the agency revealed it had turned loose some 3,000 violent and dangerous prisoners ahead of schedule. Senate Bill 5294, sponsored by committee chair Mike... Read More

Fix Hirst ruling while work toward McCleary agreement continues

Published on February 10, 2017
It obviously has not been easy for lawmakers to come up with legislation that fixes the constitutional issue about school levies raised in the McCleary ruling, treats students and taxpayers in 295 diverse districts equitably and responds to long-standing compensation concerns from teachers and district officials. If it was, the Education Equality Act passed by... Read More

Brown measures on emerging technologies clear Senate energy committee

Published on February 09, 2017
Four bills would recognize clean-power advantages of nuclear energy, make geothermal exploration and SMR manufacturing easier in Washington Today the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee advanced a package of bills aimed at encouraging and expanding the use of emerging energy technologies – including geothermal exploration, nuclear power and small modular reactors. Sen. Sharon Brown,... Read More

Senate majority presents landmark plan for K-12 funding

Published on January 31, 2017
Education Equality Act would make student-centered, teacher-friendly reforms Senate Majority Coalition Caucus members today introduced landmark reforms that would return state government to the role of primary provider for Washington’s K-12 schools while finally connecting school funding with the actual cost of educating students. The MCC’s Education Equality Act is the first complete, ready-for-voting solution... Read More

More praise for the Senate Majority’s education plan

Published on January 29, 2017
“The Campaign for Student Success applauds the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus for introducing the Education Equality Act to address McCleary and focusing on student-focused solutions for all students, attracting and retaining great educators and accountability and support for our schools. Student-based funding is a step in the right direction to meet our fundamental challenge of... Read More

State School Superintendent Reykdal: Senate Plan Shows Comprehensive Thinking on Education Funding

Published on January 27, 2017
The Senate Republican Caucus released details about its Education Equality Act. Below is a statement from State Superintendent Chris Reykdal on the proposal. Olympia – Jan. 27, 2017 – We’re at a crossroad on education funding. The state Supreme Court has said the state isn’t meeting its Constitutional duty to amply fund basic education. We... Read More

Warnick plans Tuesday hearing on collaborative approach to Washington rural development

Published on January 20, 2017
The chair of the Senate’s water-policy committee has responded to an anti-rural ruling from the state Supreme Court by filing legislation concerning the availability of water for new household wells. Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, has scheduled Senate Bill 5239 for a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. before the Senate Agriculture, Water,... Read More

Our K-12 plan will be out soon, then we can get this job done

Published on January 18, 2017
This week Republican legislative leaders had their first meeting of the session with statehouse reporters. As expected the press corps asked first about education funding – including, when will they see a plan from Republicans to fully fund our K-12 schools? A freelance writer wondered whether the plan would come in a week or two,... Read More

Without Dr. King, could we have had Dr. Floyd?

Published on January 16, 2017
As we reflect today on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what he meant to our country, I think about another distinguished African-American leader: my late friend Dr. Elson Floyd, the former Washington State University president who lost his battle with cancer in June 2015. The “Big Coug” and I didn’t spend a lot of... Read More

Senators: Thank you for your service

Published on January 03, 2017
Legislators leave office for a variety of reasons, and the when and how of their exits generally dictates our options for saying farewell. Sometimes an announcement comes during a session, which allows us to respond in person; otherwise it happens later in the year, and that opportunity is lost. We learned during the 2016 session... Read More

How far will governor go to keep a great teacher in the classroom?

Published on December 21, 2016
According to Governor Inslee, state government has an “obligation” to pour many more billions of dollars into Washington’s K-12 schools. That’s on top of the additional billions budgeted by the Legislature for basic education in the past four years. “In this day and age, we owe our kids and parents more,” the governor declared on... Read More

Reflections as our Senate majority coalition enters its fifth year

Published on December 09, 2016
My former Senate colleague, Ed Murray, made a dire prediction ahead of the formation of our Senate Majority Coalition Caucus four years ago. In an interview with TVW, the now-Seattle mayor predicted that if two Democrats (Senator Tim Sheldon and former Senator Rodney Tom) joined with the Senate’s Republican members to form a new Senate... Read More

Senate Majority Coalition Caucus elects 2017 senior leadership

Published on November 15, 2016
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus today elected senior leaders for the caucus and the Washington state Senate. The MCC filled its top leadership spots with senior senators. Leadership positions carry a 2-year term and new leaders begin their duties immediately. “We’re anxious to start the 2017 legislative session. We have some big issues to tackle,... Read More

VIDEO: Charter Local Edition NW w/Sen. Sharon Brown

Published on August 02, 2016
Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) discusses nuclear power, small modular reactors and economic development with Charter Local Edition’s Dana Cowley. Read More

Steve O’Ban: How Washington State Accidentally Released 3,000 Prisoners Early — and How it Failed to Fix the Problem

Published on June 28, 2016
This guest column was published by The Weekly Standard Online, June 27, 2016. By Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County In 2002, the Washington State Department of Corrections made a software programming error that wasn’t caught for a decade. Over this period, the error allowed thousands of prisoners to be released before their sentences were completed. In... Read More

Mike Padden: DOC, governor must accept responsibility for deadly prison releases

Published on June 11, 2016
This guest column was published in The Spokesman-Review, June 11, 2016. By Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley One of the most disturbing things about the deadly prison-release scandal at the Department of Corrections is the way top state officials keep telling us it wasn’t their fault. The governor’s investigators went to great lengths to blame... Read More

Randi Becker: Education funding a big, contentious topic

Published on June 08, 2016
This guest column was published in the Eatonville Dispatch, June 8, 2016. By Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville The state Legislature adjourned its 2016 session on March 29. Since that time, I’ve had a number of local school officials and constituents ask me about progress toward fully funding our public schools. I thought it might be... Read More

Building Insight Magazine: Streamlining Government

Published on June 07, 2016
By State Senator Sharon Brown …As chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, I’m fighting to shrink government while streamlining the way it interacts with businesses. A business that has fewer regulations to deal with has more time and resources to expend elsewhere. That translates into a reinvestment in the business (i.e. creating... Read More

Mike Padden: We’re already covered — The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 makes a state law unnecessary

Published on June 02, 2016
This guest column was published in The Inlander of Spokane, June 2, 2016. By Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley The admirable cause of civil rights is being misused by partisans in the progressive camp as a tool to bash Republicans. We saw it happen last month in the Inlander, in an opinion column headlined “Blockin’ the... Read More

Senate report on deadly prison releases blames Corrections execs, governor’s office

Published on May 25, 2016
Comprehensive legislative inquiry finds incompetence, malfeasance at highest levels OLYMPIA … A draft Senate report says top officials at the Department of Corrections and the governor’s office bear major responsibility for one the worst management failures in state-government history – the improper early release of some 3,000 of Washington’s most dangerous and violent prison inmates.... Read More

Sharon Brown: Olympia misses another chance for quicker project reviews, job creation

Published on May 13, 2016
This guest column was published in the Tri-Cities Business News, May 13, 2016. By Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick Economic growth in Washington rests, in part, on political oversight. Our state faces a number of infrastructure and trade opportunities that, if approved in a timely manner, can create more jobs and a stronger local economy.  Unfortunately, many... Read More

Pam Roach: State has much to learn from Panama Canal

Published on May 08, 2016
This guest column was published in The (Tacoma) News Tribune, May 8, 2016. By Sen. Pam Roach, R-Sumner Failure to prepare for a coming storm can lead to disaster. So can the failure of public officials to take action when an approaching crisis is at hand. We have seen proof of this in everything from... Read More

Judy Warnick: Billboards an unfair attack on farmers

Published on May 01, 2016
This guest column was published in The (Everett) Herald, May 1, 2016. By Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake Recently, billboards have popped up in Western Washington that were sponsored by a campaign called “What’s Upstream?” They were paid for with taxpayer money via a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Their message: Agriculture is... Read More

Sharon Brown: Growing the Industry

Published on May 01, 2016
This guest column was published in Building Insight, published by the Building Industry Association of Washington, in May 2016. By Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick Small businesses are the engine of growth, and ultimately, it is small business entrepreneurs and other employers who will create the jobs Washington’s economy so desperately needs. State government also has a... Read More

Andy Hill and Joe Fain: Constitutional amendment a must for balancing state budget

Published on April 28, 2016
This guest column was published in the Seattle Times, April 28, 2016. By Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, and Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn The Legislature spent months developing a state-budget update that was projected to balance for the current spending cycle as well as the next. We did so because thinking long term puts Washington in... Read More

Rivers’ corrections-partnership bill a ‘game changer’ for law enforcement

Published on April 19, 2016
It was 2011, and Clark County detective Jason Granneman was fed up. As a law-enforcement officer he came into daily contact with individuals who were serving the remainder of their sentences in the community, instead of behind bars, sometimes for months or even years. Officially they are in “community corrections” status; however, because they are... Read More

Steve O’Ban: Getting out the truth on the DOC debacle

Published on April 09, 2016
This guest column was published in The (Tacoma) News Tribune April 9, 2016. After this column appeared, the Senate completed its investigation, revealing information about the conduct of the executive branch that was not mentioned in the governor’s report. By Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County Action in Olympia is often scored like an athletic contest... Read More

Bailey water-storage and family-caregiver planning bills become law

Published on April 04, 2016
After the conclusion of a 20-day special session, two bills sponsored by Sen. Barbara Bailey, R- Oak Harbor, were signed in a formal ceremony Friday morning. Senate Bill 6589, which was approved near-unanimously, directs state agencies in charge of water management to study the feasibility of water storage to recharge the Skagit River basin so that users... Read More

Mark Miloscia: King County’s plan to end homelessness has failed

Published on March 14, 2016
This guest column was published in the Seattle Times, March 14, 2016.  By Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way In 2005, as chair of the state House of Representatives’ housing committee, I passed legislation to dramatically increase spending for the homeless while requiring Washington’s counties and state government to create a plan that addressed the root... Read More

57 Seconds: higher education

Published on March 07, 2016
Senator Joe Fain breaks down Washington’s public higher education system and how tuition works in 57 Seconds. Read More

Senate approves ‘true’ supplemental capital budget

Published on February 26, 2016
The Senate today gave a strong endorsement to its proposed supplemental capital budget, voting 39-10 for a collection of changes totaling $87 million. The budget would provide funding for new classrooms, mental-health support and environmental cleanup, without tapping the state’s rainy-day fund or relying on a new revenue source. “It was gratifying to see my colleagues... Read More

Senate’s sensible supplemental capital budget built on solid principles

Published on February 24, 2016
The Senate’s capital-budget chair said the $87 million supplemental capital-budget proposal released today focuses squarely on supporting new classrooms, providing temporary mental-health housing and addressing an environmental-cleanup emergency, all within available revenue. “This is a true supplemental budget, not a laundry list of new projects. The supplemental is meant to be a vehicle for minor... Read More

Senate budget update improves services, outcomes for taxpayers

Published on February 24, 2016
Chief Senate budget writer Sen. Andy Hill released the chamber’s 2016 supplemental budget update today, which addresses Washington residents’ priorities and fixes issues at executive-branch state agencies, through additional reforms and oversight from the Legislature. “Last year lawmakers worked hard to find agreement on historic investments in our education system without raising taxes, which received... Read More

Mike Padden and Steve O’Ban: Why the Legislature needs its own investigation of Corrections case

Published on February 24, 2016
This guest column appeared in the Seattle Times, Feb. 24, 2016. After this column appeared, the Senate completed its investigation, revealing information about the conduct of the executive branch that was not mentioned in the governor’s report. By Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County Just before Christmas, the governor’s office... Read More

From the front lines at the Department of Corrections

Published on February 22, 2016
“Many staff are afraid to provide you with any information for fear of retaliation.” “The bottom line is the people in this passed the buck. It kept getting passed because there was little accountability. Everyone involved in this fiasco knew it was wrong to sit on [this information], but nobody stepped up.” These comments are... Read More

Senate approves Braun bill to rein in authority of state agencies

Published on February 17, 2016
Today the state Senate approved legislation introduced by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia to limit the power of state agencies by changing the way they make rules. Senate Bill 6396 would require proposed rules to be submitted to the state attorney general’s office for an opinion on their constitutionality. In addition, any new rule would automatically... Read More

Schoesler: Governor’s highway changes nowhere near enough

Published on February 17, 2016
Senate leader says proposed changes to I-405 are ‘a small fix for a huge problem’ OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee regarding changes to traffic management on Interstate 405. The unpopular imposition of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-405 was one of... Read More

Becker’s plan to broaden telemedicine unanimously endorsed by Senate

Published on February 16, 2016
Today the Senate voted unanimously in support of Sen. Randi Becker’s legislation that would establish a telemedicine collaborative focused on guidance, research and best practices and expand the reimbursement for health-care services. “I’ve been saying for years that telemedicine is the wave of the future, but I’m here to say the future is now. There... Read More

Braun bill to boost state’s mental-health system approved

Published on February 16, 2016
Today the state Senate approved legislation introduced by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia to expand the pool of medical professionals capable of addressing mental-health needs of Washingtonians. Senate Bill 6445, which cleared the Senate unanimously, would clarify state law to include physician assistants in the delivery of mental-health services. “Our state needs more mental-health professionals to... Read More

Senate approves career paths and support for paraeducators

Published on February 15, 2016
As lawmakers work to strengthen Washington’s K-12 education system, the Washington State Senate today approved Sen. Andy Hill’s legislation creating a career path for paraeducators. The classroom support staff, who provide more than half of special education instruction, work under teacher supervision to instruct students, manage classrooms and act as translators. “Students in all grades... Read More

Bailey “Degree in Three” work group legislation approved by Senate

Published on February 12, 2016
Late Thursday evening the state Senate approved Sen. Barbara Bailey’s legislation aimed at reducing the time Washington’s college students need to earn a degree. Senate Bill 6626 establishes a work group aimed at helping students earn their bachelor’s degree in three years. The measure was approved unanimously and now moves to the House of Representatives... Read More

Sexual assault victims better protected under plan passed by Senate

Published on February 03, 2016
Victims of sexual assault seeking protection orders would get increased protections under legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow, passed today by the Washington State Senate. The proposal would allow courts to set longer terms instead of the current maximum of two years and reduces burdens to continue existing orders. “This legislation is a huge step... Read More

Bipartisan plan to keep charter schools open passes Senate

Published on January 20, 2016
Public charter schools would remain available to Washington students under bipartisan legislation passed today by the Washington State Senate. The plan, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow, directs charter school funding to come from the state’s Opportunity Pathways Account, which contains state lottery revenues not restricted to common schools. “One of the greatest challenges facing our... Read More

Senate recognizes sacrifices made by law enforcement officers

Published on January 13, 2016
Law enforcement officers in Washington state were recognized today by the Washington State Senate in a resolution sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County. Senate Resolution 8691 was unanimously approved as members of law enforcement from throughout the state were on hand while legislators honored the commitment, diligence and sacrifice of those committed to protecting... Read More

Linda Evans Parlette: 2016 a Year to Build on Results

Published on January 07, 2016
By Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee In a short time, we begin a legislative session in which anything can happen – more true in 2016 than in most years. The key thing to remember is that, at least on the Senate side, we will hold true to the priorities that have guided us since the... Read More

Pam Roach: Preparation can shield state’s valued assets from cyberattack

Published on January 03, 2016
This guest column was published in the Seattle Times, Jan. 3, 2016. The Legislature tackled cybersecurity during the 2016 session by passing Senate Bill 5628. The bill directs the state chief information officer to devise a process to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents, and directs the Department of Commerce to advance the state’s leadership... Read More

Mike Padden and Dave Reichert: State needs greater justice system transparency

Published on December 28, 2015
This guest column was published in The (Tacoma) News Tribune, Dec. 28, 2015. Ultimately the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board denied Timothy Pauley’s request for early release. The board instead noted the egregiousness of the crime, observed that Pauley’s punishment was mild by comparison with similar cases, and tacked another two decades onto his sentence. By... Read More

Brown, Padden: Remote testimony options to expand in 2016 session

Published on December 18, 2015
Remote video-testimony options will expand in 2016 in the Washington state Senate, an important development for residents of Eastern Washington – and for anyone hoping to avoid a trip to the Capitol. Next year committees in all five Senate meeting rooms will be able to view video testimony offered via Skype. The Internet-based videoconferencing will... Read More

Governor’s budget plan doesn’t deal with realities of writing a budget

Published on December 17, 2015
In response to a supplemental budget proposal offered by Washington’s governor this morning, Sen. Andy Hill, the Senate’s chief budget writer and chair of the Ways and Means Committee, provided this response: “We’ve been waiting four years for the governor to produce a balanced budget — I guess we’re going to have to keep waiting.... Read More

Padden named ‘Legislator of the Year’ by Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Published on November 24, 2015
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has again named state Sen. Mike Padden “Legislator of the Year” for his continuing effort to toughen Washington laws against driving under the influence. The national-level award goes to lawmakers in each state who have demonstrated leadership on the issue. Padden, R-Spokane Valley, is one of 70 recipients nationally of MADD’s... Read More

Brown’s ‘Invest in Washington’ program already creating new manufacturing jobs

Published on November 18, 2015
Local employer praises Brown for helping make Washington and Tri-Cities area more competitive Sen. Sharon Brown, chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, has made attracting employers to Washington and helping them create jobs her top priorities since becoming a senator. When the Legislature passed her “Invest in Washington” jobs plan earlier this... Read More

Tim Sheldon: Opposing Inslee’s climate proposals is a bipartisan affair

Published on October 21, 2015
This guest column was published in Crosscut, Oct. 21, 2015. In June 2016, the Inslee Administration released a new plan to impose carbon-cap regulations without a vote of the Legislature. By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new carbon-emissions reduction plan and declared any lawmaker who opposes... Read More

Sharon Brown and Mike Padden: Videoconferencing the next step in Washington’s participatory democracy

Published on October 04, 2015
This guest column was pubished in The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, Oct. 4, 2015. During the 2016 legislative session, opportunities for remote testimony were expanded as the Senate added Skype capabilities to its communication apparatus. Further upgrades to switching equipment in Senate hearing rooms were installed during the interim between the 2016 and 2017 sessions. By Sen.... Read More

Schoesler named ‘Legislative Champion’ by Washington Association of Realtors

Published on September 22, 2015
Schoesler, R-Ritzville, is a co-winner of the award with Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond, the Senate majority’s budget chief. They helped lead the Legislature to adopt a new 2015-17 operating budget which is balanced without general tax increases that would have hit Main Street employers and family-level investors. Read More

Padden receives “Cultural Hero Award”

Published on September 21, 2015
Sen. Padden is awarded the Cultural Hero Award by (from left to right) Father Robert Spitzer, Camille Pauley, and Steve Lovejoy. Father Spitzer is the former president of Gonzaga University and co-founder of Healing the Culture with Camille Pauley. Steve Lovejoy is a board member of Healing the Culture. Washington State lawmaker selected for annual... Read More

Ericksen says governor lacks authority under greenhouse-gas law to impose carbon plan by executive order

Published on September 03, 2015
Opinion from attorney general provides support to Ericksen’s position Sen. Doug Ericksen says an opinion from the state attorney general’s office confirms his belief that Gov. Jay Inslee is not required to pursue a carbon-emissions cap based on the state law that sets future emissions goals. Ericksen, who chairs the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications... Read More

Sharon Brown and Tim Sheldon: State needs better clean energy approach than Inslee’s

Published on August 13, 2015
This guest column was published in The (Tacoma) News Tribune, Aug. 13, 2015. In June 2016, the Inslee Administration released a new plan to impose carbon-cap regulations without a vote of the Legislature. By Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch Gov. Jay Inslee is threatening, in the name of the environment, to... Read More

Don Benton: Legislature stepped up for our state’s veterans

Published on August 08, 2015
This guest column was published in The (Vancouver) Columbian, Aug. 8, 2015. As a result of Senate Bill 5974, the Legislature revisited the issue in 2016 and passed legislation (SB 6405) allowing supplemental veterans’ health insurance to be offered in the state of Washington. By Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver While education clearly owned the spotlight... Read More

State House needs to follow suit on toughening DUI laws

Published on July 30, 2015
In January, the Legislature must make a fourth DUI a felony. By Mike Padden Special to The Times AFTER 176 days of work, state lawmakers passed a historic budget that lowers tuition for the first time, puts record amounts of funding into basic education and makes significant investments in mental health — all with no... Read More

Senate majority makes college more affordable with historic tuition cuts

Published on July 27, 2015
Senate Majority leader Mark Schoesler recaps the news coverage of an historic session: ‘Historic’ tuition cut sets state apart from rest of U.S. Seattle Times, June 13, 2015 Washington’s move isn’t well-known elsewhere in the country, but some say it could spur other states to think about cuts. “I don’t know how widely known this proposal... Read More

Senate majority makes college more affordable with historic tuition cuts

Published on July 27, 2015
Senate Majority leader Mark Schoesler recaps the news coverage of an historic session: ‘Historic’ tuition cut sets state apart from rest of U.S. Seattle Times, June 13, 2015 Washington’s move isn’t well-known elsewhere in the country, but some say it could spur other states to think about cuts. “I don’t know how widely known this proposal... Read More

A messy session with a splendid finish

Published on July 22, 2015
If ever there was a legislative session that proved Otto von Bismarck right, it is the one we just finished. Von Bismarck is the former German chancellor we always quote about legislating and sausage-making: “Laws are like sausages – it is better not to see them being made.” The session this year wasn’t a pretty... Read More

A messy session with a splendid finish

Published on July 22, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. If ever there was a legislative session that proved Otto von Bismarck right, it is the one we just finished. Von Bismarck is the former German chancellor we always quote about legislating and sausage-making: “Laws are like sausages – it... Read More

A session that rewrote history, not always accurately

Published on July 22, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. I was reading the other day that this year’s Legislature raised taxes by $480 million. This was news to me and I think to just about everyone on my side of the aisle, mainly because it isn’t true. That... Read More

Session finale brings huge win, lasting achievements for Eastern Washington, Baumgartner says

Published on July 10, 2015
OLYMPIA… The 2015 legislative session ended Friday in victory for Eastern Washington, said state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. Seldom has the outcome of a legislative session so well reflected the interests and the bedrock principles of Eastern Washington, he said. Washington lawmakers wrapped up their session Friday on the 176th day, the longest continuous legislative... Read More

Court ruling about state oversight of hospitals illustrates need for legislative review

Published on July 09, 2015
Top leaders of the Senate Health Care Committee applauded today’s unanimous state Supreme Court ruling that the state Department of Health overstepped its legal authority to regulate hospitals. Sen. Randi Becker, committee chair, and Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair, said the justices’ decision found the agency’s certificate-of-need process was out of line with state law.... Read More

Padden’s rapid response to Supreme Court public-safety ruling signed by governor

Published on July 07, 2015
Bill restores pretrial-monitoring tool for protecting the public On June 11 the state Supreme Court ruled that the costs for pre-trial drug and alcohol monitoring fit under the statutory meaning of “pretrial supervision,” limiting the ability of courts to order these protective measures in cash-strapped counties. By July 6 – just 25 days later –... Read More

Bipartisan budget fully funds education, reduces tuition without new taxes

Published on July 01, 2015
Sen. Andy Hill today released a final bipartisan two-year operating budget that fully funds education, reduces college tuition and protects the social safety net without raising new taxes. “We began this year with the goal of fully funding education and ensuring a sustainable future for the state,” said Hill, chair of the Ways and Means... Read More

Legislature passes Brown plan to encourage job growth

Published on June 30, 2015
Invest in Washington Jobs pilot program would help create new manufacturing and construction jobs Sen. Sharon Brown, chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, has made attracting employers to Washington and helping them create jobs her top priorities since coming to the Senate. Today, the Legislature passed her “Invest in Washington” jobs plan,... Read More

Legislature backs Padden’s bill on pretrial drug and alcohol monitoring

Published on June 30, 2015
Today the House of Representatives voted 92-6 to pass a measure sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, aimed at improving public safety by making it more practical for courts to order pretrial drug and alcohol monitoring. “There are often real-world consequences to Supreme Court decisions,” said Padden, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee. “Senate... Read More

Senate passes Brown measure on clean-energy education and nuclear jobs

Published on June 30, 2015
Today the Senate approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown aimed at supporting nuclear education and preparing the state to attract more economic development and jobs tied to the nuclear-power industry. Senate Bill 5113, which passed by a vote of 31-12, would require the Department of Commerce to coordinate and advance the manufacturing of... Read More

Transportation package huge win for Eastern Washington, Baumgartner says

Published on June 29, 2015
OLYMPIA… A $16 billion transportation package approved by Washington lawmakers Monday night offers a huge win for Eastern Washington, delivering some $1 billion to Spokane County alone and finally finishing the North-South Freeway, said Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. At the same time, it makes big reforms in the way the state spends and manages its... Read More

College students win as lawmakers enact historic tuition rollback, Baumgartner says

Published on June 29, 2015
OLYMPIA… Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, issued the following statement Monday evening after the Washington Senate voted for an unprecedented college-tuition rollback in the final agreement on a 2015-17 operating budget and in Senate Bill 5954: “The big winners in this state budget agreement are college students and their families. Because of Senate Republican leadership, college students... Read More

Update on transportation investment package

Published on June 28, 2015
As state lawmakers continue working to find agreement on major new transportation investments Sen. Curtis King, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Sen. Joe Fain, vice chair of the transportation budget, released this statement: “We appreciate the difficult decision the governor has made and applaud him for not allowing a single issue to stand... Read More

Senate passes Padden measures aimed at addressing recent Supreme Court decisions

Published on June 25, 2015
Bills would help permit pretrial drug and alcohol monitoring and give deceased victims of violent crimes a voice in sentencing hearings On Wednesday the Senate passed two measures sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, aimed at improving public safety and increasing justice for crime victims. Both bills were introduced to address recent Washington State Supreme Court... Read More

Time at long last for House to pass drunk-driving bill

Published on June 24, 2015
This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Before we wrap up our business for the year and start thinking about the long drive home, a drunk-driving bill awaits our action in the Legislature. Something we need to do before we get behind the wheel. A series of terrible accidents in the... Read More

Time at long last for House to pass drunk-driving bill

Published on June 24, 2015
This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Before we wrap up our business for the year and start thinking about the long drive home, a drunk-driving bill awaits our action in the Legislature. Something we need to do before we get behind the wheel. A series of terrible accidents in the... Read More

Padden’s felony-DUI bill moves to House for third time this year

Published on June 24, 2015
For the third time since lawmakers convened at the state Capitol in January, the Washington state Senate has unanimously passed Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to make a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony. “We have only a few more days to act before the end of the current legislative session, and it is... Read More

Fain proposal hopes to expedite future state-budget negotiations

Published on June 23, 2015
The Washington state budget affects everyone in the state, but too often in recent years completing a budget has required lawmakers to go into multiple overtime sessions. With that in mind Sen. Joe Fain today introduced a bill that would reduce the time lawmakers can raise money for their re-election campaigns if they do not... Read More

Support swells at Capitol for naming new WSU medical school for Elson Floyd

Published on June 23, 2015
OLYMPIA… The idea of naming the new Washington State University medical school in Spokane for its greatest champion, the late university president Elson Floyd, is receiving a groundswell of support at the Capitol, reports Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. Baumgartner will introduce a bill this week naming the school for the university president who died Saturday... Read More

Coug nation grieves the loss of WSU President Elson Floyd

Published on June 21, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement on the death of Washington State University President Elson Floyd: “It was with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Elson Floyd this morning. As president of Washington State University, Dr. Floyd was a widely admired leader and a passionate advocate for improved... Read More

Hill: Agreement reached on tuition reduction, no new taxes in budget

Published on June 19, 2015
OLYMPIA… Today, Sen. Andy Hill made this statement regarding the announcement of compromise budget principles: “In March, we released a budget that fully funds education and makes college affordable without new taxes. We’ve held to these principles and are grateful that both the governor and House have agreed to support them. With new taxes off... Read More

Treasurer’s tortured argument for high tuition a matter of politics

Published on June 19, 2015
The following post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. We keep hearing the strangest things about our tuition plan in the state Senate – our unprecedented, first-of-its-kind proposal to roll back college tuition at Washington colleges and universities. Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and I have proposed the... Read More

Treasurer’s tortured argument for high tuition a matter of politics

Published on June 19, 2015
We keep hearing the strangest things about our tuition plan in the state Senate – our unprecedented, first-of-its-kind proposal to roll back college tuition at Washington colleges and universities. Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and I have proposed the College Affordability Program which would cut tuition an average 25 percent, and make it a matter of... Read More

2015: Best year for students and teachers in decades

Published on June 17, 2015
Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee answers the question, “What have lawmakers done for students this year?” Senate education budget facts: Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history. 47 percent of the budget dedicated to K-12 education — a share not seen since the... Read More

2015: Best year for students and teachers in decades

Published on June 17, 2015
Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee answers the question, “What have lawmakers done for students this year?” Senate education budget facts: Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history. 47 percent of the budget dedicated to K-12 education — a share not seen since the... Read More

KING5: State lawmakers investigating Snohomish county clean energy contracts

Published on June 16, 2015
EVERETT, Wash. — A series of contracts awarded by the Snohomish County Public Utilities District through a state clean energy grant program are under investigation by state lawmakers, some of whom are concerned about potential conflicts of interest between public and private entities. Central to questions being raised, mostly by Senate Republicans, are dealings between... Read More

KING5: State lawmakers investigating Snohomish County clean energy contracts

Published on June 16, 2015
EVERETT, Wash. — A series of contracts awarded by the Snohomish County Public Utilities District through a state clean energy grant program are under investigation by state lawmakers, some of whom are concerned about potential conflicts of interest between public and private entities. Central to questions being raised, mostly by Senate Republicans, are dealings between... Read More

Seattle Times: Don’t play politics with drought relief funding

Published on June 05, 2015
Sen. Judy Warnick, chair of the Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee says ensuring farmers get the water they need to get their crops to market is not a partisan issue. Read more http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/dont-play-politics-with-drought-relief-funding/   Read More

Federal government stalls recreational fishing, Pearson calls for action

Published on May 29, 2015
After over a decade of stalled progress, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced yesterday that recreational fishing will once again take a hit as “early winter” steelhead salmon will be released in inland lakes rather than state rivers due to continued delays by the federal National Marine Fishing Service. Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Snoqualmie, Green... Read More

Angel: “No more excuses” for House failure to pass budget

Published on May 29, 2015
With one 30-day special session completed, Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, is still waiting for the House of Representatives majority leadership to get the votes they need for their budget. House budget leaders assumed $1.5 billion of tax increases in their spending plan but lacked the votes to pass the tax proposals either out of... Read More

Hill budget paves the way for bipartisan compromise

Published on May 28, 2015
On the final day of the special legislative session, Sen. Andy Hill released an updated budget reaffirming the Senate’s original priorities of fully funding education and protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens without raising taxes. The new proposal, which was approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, made additional compromise steps to adopt positions... Read More

Collective bargaining shouldn’t be a secret

Published on May 27, 2015
This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. What would you say if you were presented with an agreement over which you had no say, was negotiated in secret and cost you millions — and the only thing you could do was turn thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Most likely what you would... Read More

Time to get over the tax-increase obsession

Published on May 27, 2015
This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. As time runs out on our overtime session in Olympia, I think it’s a good moment to ask an important question. What on earth is keeping us here? Last week should have settled things. State economists told us we... Read More

Time to get over the tax-increase obsession

Published on May 27, 2015
As time runs out on our overtime session in Olympia, I think it’s a good moment to ask an important question. What on earth is keeping us here? Last week should have settled things. State economists told us we can count on another $400 million without raising taxes a dime. Now we can say for... Read More

Collective bargaining shouldn’t be a secret

Published on May 27, 2015
What would you say if you were presented with an agreement over which you had no say, was negotiated in secret and cost you millions — and the only thing you could do was turn thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Most likely what you would say would be unprintable. Unfortunately, we in the Legislature are limited to yea or nay. For the last 10... Read More

Sen. Rivers: ‘A message to our teachers’

Published on May 22, 2015

Pearson joins domestic-violence survivor to toughen law

Published on May 21, 2015
OLYMPIA… Six years ago police went to Barbara Holland’s home and arrested the man who had tortured and threatened to kill her. She would learn that due to a change in state law approved just days after the assault, her attacker – a first-time domestic-violence felony offender – would not be supervised after being released... Read More

‘Aiden’s Act’ now law

Published on May 19, 2015
O’Ban says reform will better protect children when abuse is suspected Sen. Steve O’Ban’s effort to bring about swifter government intervention in cases of suspected child abuse culminated Monday with the signing of “Aiden’s Act.” O’Ban, chair of the Senate human-services committee, named the law created by Senate Bill 5888 for Aiden Barnum, a Port... Read More

State revenue more than enough to fund education, state budget

Published on May 18, 2015
Washington state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council today released its second quarter revenue forecast, which was moved ahead from June, showing an increase of $327 million in revenue for the 2015-17 biennium. Since session began in January the state has seen $1.1 billion of additional revenue and resources added to the state budget outlook. Sen.... Read More

Western Hockey League teams protected by new legislation

Published on May 18, 2015
The Western Hockey League provides an important opportunity for young amateur hockey players to develop their skills and earn college scholarships. However, four Washington teams including the Kent-based Thunderbirds faced potential shutdown after a complaint filed with the state claimed players were professional athletes and therefore subject to certain wage and labor laws. Recognizing the... Read More

As forecast adds $400 million, Padden joins call for tax relief for small business

Published on May 18, 2015
A positive tax-revenue forecast is leading three state senators to call for a tax cut, saying this is the time for relief, not more spending. State Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and Michael Padden, R-Spokane Valley, are calling for a reduction in business and occupations taxes. Their plan would use half of the... Read More

State Voting Rights Act doesn’t live up to noble name

Published on May 15, 2015
When talk turns to the Voting Rights Act, that old black-and-white news footage starts running through our minds — sit-ins, boycotts and the March on Washington. The federal law of 1965 was one of the most significant bills of the last century, fulfillment of the promise that all shall have the right to vote. And I think those powerful images... Read More

Bailey bill ensures Kelley won’t boost pension during his unpaid leave

Published on May 14, 2015
As state Auditor Troy Kelley takes time off to defend himself against accusations of lying, cheating and stealing, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, ensures he won’t rack up credit toward a state pension. Her measure would block statewide elected officials who are under felony indictment from garnering “service credit” when... Read More

Governor signs array of O’Ban social justice reforms

Published on May 14, 2015
In a formal ceremony today, Gov. Jay Inslee signed three landmark pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County. The first law empowers families seeking mental-health treatment for loved ones, known as “Joel’s Law.” The second ground-breaking reform increases fairness for juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system by changing requirements for sealing... Read More

Governor signs Roger Freeman Act to help families in need

Published on May 14, 2015
Today Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2140, which creates a law to help families struggling to pay for court-ordered services. The signing caps an effort that began during the 2014 legislative session under the leadership of the late Rep. Roger Freeman, who passed away last October. Before the bill passed this year Sens. Mark... Read More

Senate panel hears testimony on ‘Victims’ Voice Act’

Published on May 12, 2015
Today the Senate Law and Justice Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 6099, a measure to help ensure that deceased crime victims have an advocate at sentencing hearings when there is no one else to speak for them. The bill, known as the Victims’ Voice Act, is sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley and... Read More

Foster youth with medical concerns to receive extended care

Published on May 12, 2015
Foster youth often face a difficult transition into adulthood when services typically end. Legislation signed into law Monday, sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain and Rep. Tina Orwall, will provide extended benefits to young adults ages 19-21 with medical conditions who do not already qualify for extended foster care, which requires them to be enrolled in... Read More

2015: Best year for K-12 education funding in decades

Published on May 11, 2015
Washington’s education union is planning a series of one-day strikes protesting the Legislature’s work on education funding. See here for information on the strike. What have lawmakers done for students this year? Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history Bipartisan efforts would invest in all-day kindergarten, K-3 class size reduction and... Read More

Brown’s Residential Construction Recovery Act signed by governor

Published on May 11, 2015
Today Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5923, also known as the Residential Construction Recovery Act, which helps residential builders defer payment of impact fees. The measure was sponsored by 8th District Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick. “The middle and working-classes were hammered by the Great Recession and perhaps no industry was hit harder than construction,”... Read More

The curse that haunts the Legislature

Published on May 08, 2015
It’s one of the facts of political life: Whenever good times return, some people want to spend as though they’re going to last forever. Happy days are here again. Turn that frown upside down! Only a gloomy fellow speaks of recession. And those of us who are grown-ups should know how silly that is. Anyone who... Read More

State Supreme Court decision underscores importance of Rivers’ Cannabis Patient Protection Act

Published on May 08, 2015
In the days and years leading up to the recent passage of Senate Bill 5052 Sen. Ann Rivers was the subject of angry emails, death threats, even a published caricature depicting her with fangs – all over what critics said was her lack of concern for medical-marijuana patients. Rivers’ Cannabis Patient Protection Act aligns the... Read More

Senate work session examines litigation concerns tied to proposed state voting rights act

Published on May 07, 2015
Today Sen. Mike Padden, chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, held a joint work session with the Senate Government Operations and Security Committee to examine concerns that a proposed state version of the Voting Rights Act could increase litigation and costs for local jurisdictions. “The proposed Washington State Voting Rights Act attempts to... Read More

2015 – A great year for education

Published on May 07, 2015
Washington’s education union is planning a series of one-day strikes protesting the Legislature’s work on education funding. See here for information on the strike. What have lawmakers done for students this year? Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history Bipartisan efforts would invest in all-day kindergarten, K-3 class size reduction and... Read More

Tuition-cap bill approved by Senate

Published on April 29, 2015
College affordability one step closer for Washington Families The Senate Majority’s College Affordability Program, Senate Bill 5954 passed with bipartisan support but surprising opposition from half of Senate Democrats. The bill, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor would reduce... Read More

Governor signs O’Ban human-trafficking bill

Published on April 28, 2015
Measure supports new training for law enforcement to protect vulnerable populations Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5933 Friday, sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban. The new law establishes a statewide training program for those who work on the front line to combat human trafficking. “This law is a needed tool for law enforcement to deal... Read More

Bailey amendment on oil-train safety bill provides more tools to keep communities safe

Published on April 28, 2015
The final bill voted on during the 2015 regular session was a result of strong bipartisan work to keep communities safe in light of increased oil-train traffic. The Senate adjourned late Friday evening passing House Bill 1449 unanimously. Sen. Barbara Bailey offered an amendment that had been dogging the bill throughout the proposal’s negotiation, but... Read More

Burned, beaten and locked away: State fails disabled woman

Published on April 28, 2015

Burned, beaten and locked away: State fails disabled woman

Published on April 28, 2015

O’Ban homeless youth prevention bill now law

Published on April 28, 2015
Bipartisan efforts boost resources to combat youth homelessness Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Homeless Youth Prevention Act into law Friday. Sponsored by state Sen. Steve O’Ban, Senate Bill 5404 boosts resources to homeless youth and aims to decrease homelessness with greater data and prevention efforts. “This is one of the most important pieces of legislation... Read More

Padden urges House to follow Senate lead on remote testimony

Published on April 28, 2015
Sen. Mike Padden went into the 2015 regular session with a goal of increasing the opportunities for public participation in the legislative process. An analysis of the Senate’s remote testimony pilot program shows that Padden and his colleagues in the Senate took significant steps toward achieving that goal in that chamber, and now he plans... Read More

Looking ahead to special session, Sheldon says much work to be done

Published on April 28, 2015
OLYMPIA… As Washington lawmakers prepare for a special overtime session, state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, said he is proud of what the Legislature has done so far – and hugely disappointed the Legislature failed to get its business done on time. “The only way we can come to agreement on a budget is if both... Read More

Schoesler calls for May 15 finish to special session

Published on April 27, 2015
OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler today repeated the call to lawmakers in Olympia to end their special session by May 15. Washington lawmakers are scheduled to begin an overtime session Wednesday, but it could run 30 days – or even longer. Schoesler added that lawmakers should see a mid-May deadline for school districts to plan... Read More

Schoesler calls for May 15 finish to special session

Published on April 27, 2015
OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler today repeated the call to lawmakers in Olympia to end their special session by May 15. Washington lawmakers are scheduled to begin an overtime session Wednesday, but it could run 30 days – or even longer. Schoesler added that lawmakers should see a mid-May deadline for school districts to plan... Read More

Senate delivers ‘clean sweep’ on budget, transportation and tuition cuts

Published on April 24, 2015
Majority leader: ‘Special session needs to end by May 15’ OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, today marked the end of the Legislature’s regular session with a long list of major legislation passed by the Senate including a no-new-taxes budget, bipartisan transportation package, college-tuition cuts, public-safety measures, addressed critical mental health issues and a... Read More

Senate delivers ‘clean sweep’ on budget, transportation and tuition cuts

Published on April 24, 2015
OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, today marked the end of the Legislature’s regular session with a long list of major legislation passed by the Senate including a no-new-taxes budget, bipartisan transportation package, college-tuition cuts, public-safety measures, addressed critical mental health issues and a capital budget that builds 2,100 classrooms to lower class size... Read More

Follow the breadcrumbs to a government shutdown

Published on April 24, 2015
Last week, when there was still a chance for us to finish our business in Olympia on time and adjourn this weekend, we were flabbergasted by an argument we heard from our Democratic colleagues in the House. As budget negotiations started, they said they should not be required to vote for a $1.5 billion tax... Read More

Legislature reaches compromise on oil-train safety bill, finishes regular session

Published on April 24, 2015
  OLYMPIA… Lawmakers reached compromise on a major oil-train safety bill Friday, culminating two years of work on a high-profile issue, and finishing their 2015 regular session on a note of accomplishment. The state Senate passed the bill 46-0 and the House quickly concurred 95-1, sending the measure to the governor’s desk. “This vote gives... Read More

No pay for striking teachers, Sheldon declares

Published on April 24, 2015
OLYMPIA… When teachers go on strike, Washington taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay them for it, says state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch – and he is introducing a bill requiring school districts to dock their paychecks. “I don’t think people realize teachers get paid when they go on strike,” Sheldon said. “It’s not supposed to be... Read More

Follow the breadcrumbs to a government shutdown

Published on April 24, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Last week, when there was still a chance for us to finish our business in Olympia on time and adjourn this weekend, we were flabbergasted by an argument we heard from our Democratic colleagues in the House. As budget... Read More

A red pencil for the state teachers’ union

Published on April 24, 2015
The Washington Education Association, the union that represents most schoolteachers in this state, is teaching Washington a most valuable lesson this week. You can’t believe everything you hear. For the last few days a radio ad has been making the claim the Senate has voted to make classrooms more crowded and shortchange teacher salaries, at... Read More

School Superintendents speak out on finishing the state budget on time

Published on April 21, 2015
“School districts depend so much on the Legislature to complete their work on time so that we can complete our work.  Whether it’s hiring teachers to reduce class size, adding more sections of full-day kindergarten, or purchasing busses, until the Legislature approves a budget, we are unable to move forward with our planning and decision-making. ... Read More

School Superintendents speak out on the importance of finishing state budget on time

Published on April 21, 2015
“School districts depend so much on the Legislature to complete their work on time so that we can complete our work.  Whether it’s hiring teachers to reduce class size, adding more sections of full-day kindergarten, or purchasing busses, until the Legislature approves a budget, we are unable to move forward with our planning and decision-making. ... Read More

Majority Leader: ‘Troy Kelley has damaged public trust – time to resign’

Published on April 16, 2015
OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement in reaction to the federal indictment of state Auditor Troy Kelley. “The damage has been done and it’s time for Troy Kelley to resign immediately. There is nothing he can do to restore public trust given his evasion and silence on these serious allegations. We have... Read More

Majority Leader: ‘Troy Kelley has damaged public trust – time to resign’

Published on April 16, 2015
  OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement in reaction to the federal indictment of state Auditor Troy Kelley. “The damage has been done and it’s time for Troy Kelley to resign immediately. There is nothing he can do to restore public trust given his evasion and silence on these serious allegations. We... Read More

Legislature must get done on time for students

Published on April 16, 2015
With the 2015 legislative session scheduled to end April 26, Sen. Steve Litzow urged lawmakers to complete their work on time to allow students, teachers and local school districts to utilize a significant investment in public education in the final state budget. “Washington state’s most important responsibility is to provide every child with a quality education,” said... Read More

Legislature enters final stretch of 2015 session

Published on April 15, 2015
Majority Leader: ‘Senate holds the line on last minute projects adding $128 million’ OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement as the Legislature passed an important deadline for passage of bills from opposite chambers, and entered the final phase of the 2015 session: “Today is Tax Day for thousands of Washington taxpayers. I... Read More

Washington State Lottery…In 57 Seconds

Published on April 15, 2015
Why is there an education funding crisis in Washington if the Lottery was supposed to fund schools? Learn the truth behind the lottery: how much it raises and where does that money go in this week’s episode of 57 Seconds. Read More

Will this governor cause a government shutdown?

Published on April 14, 2015
Jay Inslee dropped a bomb Thursday. Pass a tax increase, the governor told us, or he won’t sign the budget. No one is sure if he is threatening to veto the budget. Maybe he’s saying he will allow the budget to become law without his signature. Or maybe we just ought to take it as... Read More

Will this governor cause a government shutdown?

Published on April 14, 2015
This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Jay Inslee dropped a bomb Thursday. Pass a tax increase, the governor told us, or he won’t sign the budget. No one is sure if he is threatening to veto the budget. Maybe he’s saying he will allow the budget... Read More

A capital budget that builds classrooms, not state office buildings

Published on April 14, 2015
This post originally appeared in the Majority Coalition Caucus leadership blog, Exit 105. Over the weekend a news story highlighted one of the big problems the Legislature faces this year. We’re mandating all-day kindergarten and reducing class sizes in grades K-3. And if we do that, we’re going to need to build more classrooms. The... Read More

A capital budget that builds classrooms, not state office buildings

Published on April 14, 2015
Over the weekend a news story highlighted one of the big problems the Legislature faces this year. We’re mandating all-day kindergarten and reducing class sizes in grades K-3. And if we do that, we’re going to need to build more classrooms. The story got it right, but it’s not exactly news around here. We’ve been... Read More

Senate continues to put the ‘public’ back in public education with capital-budget approval

Published on April 14, 2015
The Senate today approved its proposal to build over 2,100 classrooms, fully fund 80 parks and trails, inject $60 million into local-government infrastructure projects statewide and provide $30 million to expand the number of community behavioral health beds. Over 30 percent of the Senate’s $3.9-billion capital budget is devoted to supporting public education – through... Read More

House approves Padden bill encouraging specialty courts

Published on April 14, 2015
Sen. Mike Padden saw his legislation to encourage the establishment of specialty, or “therapeutic,” courts move one step closer to becoming law, following a unanimous vote today in the state House of Representatives. The state Senate had given Senate Bill 5107 its unanimous support in February. “Therapeutic courts serve an important role in our judicial... Read More

AG Ferguson and Sen. Padden urge House action on felony DUI bill

Published on April 14, 2015
Today the House Public Safety Committee heard public testimony on a measure sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden that would make a fourth DUI conviction within 10 years a felony. “This bill is really about going after those repeat offenders who are putting the public at risk and even taking lives,” said Padden, who chairs the... Read More

Why I support the College Affordability Program

Published on April 13, 2015
Students say why they support the Senate Majority’s plan to reduce tuition. Read More

Why I support the College Affordability Program

Published on April 13, 2015
Students say why they support the Senate Majority’s plan to reduce tuition. Read More

VIDEO: Senate honors those with Down syndrome

Published on April 13, 2015
Watch a video featuring comments from Sen. Padden and some of the Down syndrome self-advocates who attended today’s reading of Senate Resolution 8657, honoring those with Down syndrome and recognizing those individuals and organizations which advocate on their behalf. Read More

Senate adopts Padden resolution honoring those with Down syndrome

Published on April 10, 2015
Today the Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, honoring people with Down syndrome and recognizing the efforts of people and organizations working on behalf of those with developmental disabilities. Padden shared his personal commitment to policies that recognize the rights of those with Down syndrome. “As a Legislature and as individuals we... Read More

Senate and House leaders meet to discuss budget negotiations

Published on April 10, 2015
OLYMPIA…As the 2015 legislative session nears the end of its 105 day limit, Senate Majority Coalition budget negotiators are reaching across the aisle and Rotunda to end on time and on budget. The Senate has passed a complete budget. The House has passed a $39 billion spending plan. This is an important difference between the... Read More

Senate and House leaders meet to discuss budget negotiations

Published on April 10, 2015
OLYMPIA…As the 2015 legislative session nears the end of its 105 day limit, Senate Majority Coalition budget negotiators are reaching across the aisle and Rotunda to end on time and on budget. The Senate has passed a complete budget. The House has passed a $39 billion spending plan. This is an important difference between the... Read More

VIDEO: Senate honors those with Down syndrome

Published on April 10, 2015
Watch a video featuring comments from Sen. Padden and some of the Down syndrome self-advocates who attended today’s reading of Senate Resolution 8657, honoring those with Down syndrome and recognizing those individuals and organizations who advocate on their behalf. Read More

Senate tuition-cut proposal good for families and GET program

Published on April 10, 2015
After Sen. John Braun introduced legislation to cut tuition at state colleges and universities some questions arose regarding the bill’s effects on Washington State’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program. Opponents of the proposal have erroneously stated the measure would reduce the value of credits already purchased through the state GET program. “I understand the concerns that... Read More

Senate passes Brown’s Invest in Washington Jobs Act

Published on April 10, 2015
Sen. Sharon Brown, chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, has made attracting employers to Washington and helping them create jobs her top priorities since coming to the Senate. On Thursday, the Senate passed her “Invest in Washington” jobs bill, aimed at encouraging economic growth and new manufacturing and construction jobs. “This bill... Read More

Watch KING 5: Students praise Senate tuition cuts as debt relief

Published on April 08, 2015

Watch KING 5: Students express support for Senate tuition cut

Published on April 08, 2015

Ericksen says big wind-farm losses for Cowlitz PUD make case for Senate energy plan

Published on April 07, 2015
OLYMPIA… A big investment in wind farms by the Cowlitz Public Utility District turned out to be a dud costing ratepayers nearly $1 million a month, and Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, says it makes a case for the energy plan he introduced in the Senate this year. A story published in The Daily News of... Read More

A bold plan to cut tuition, boost middle class families

Published on April 06, 2015
This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. In the Senate this year we are looking to undo an historic three-decade mistake on the part of the state Legislature – its decision to allow college and university tuition to skyrocket. We are proposing an unprecedented rollback, an... Read More

A no-new-tax Senate budget proposal points the way – again

Published on April 06, 2015
For the last year our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been saying we can’t avoid a tax increase — a head-bobbing consensus that seems to have been taken by many as conventional wisdom. Then we came out with our budget proposal in the state Senate and showed them there is another way,... Read More

A no-new-tax Senate budget proposal points the way – again

Published on April 06, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. For the last year our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been saying we can’t avoid a tax increase — a head-bobbing consensus that seems to have been taken by many as conventional wisdom. Then we came... Read More

A bold plan to cut tuition, boost middle class families

Published on April 06, 2015
In the Senate this year we are looking to undo an historic three-decade mistake on the part of the state Legislature – its decision to allow college and university tuition to skyrocket. We are proposing an unprecedented rollback, an average tuition reduction of 25 percent over the next two years, together with a mechanism that would prevent... Read More

Senate budget avoids new taxes, slashes tuition, boosts Mason County, Sheldon says

Published on April 06, 2015
OLYMPIA… A $38 billion budget proposal approved by the state Senate Monday avoids tax increases and offers an enormous middle-class tax cut, in the form of reduced tuition at the state’s colleges and universities, said Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “This is a proposal I think the tough-minded people of rural Washington can support,” Sheldon said.... Read More

Majority Leader: We have the votes to pass a no-new-taxes budget

Published on April 06, 2015
OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement in advance of passage of a 2015-17 operating budget by members of the state Senate: “We have the votes to pass a no-new-taxes budget that fully funds K-12 education and offers college students and their families the first tuition cut in at least a generation. “It’s... Read More

Majority Leader: We have the votes to pass a no-new-taxes budget

Published on April 06, 2015
OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement in advance of passage of a 2015-17 operating budget by members of the state Senate: “We have the votes to pass a no-new-taxes budget that fully funds K-12 education and offers college students and their families the first tuition cut in at least a generation. “It’s... Read More

Brown comments on Senate budget slated for vote today

Published on April 06, 2015
Tri-Cities lawmaker applauds the no-new taxes, pro-education budget After a marathon session that saw more than 70 amendments and floor discussions that finally adjourned at 4:15 a.m. Friday, lawmakers are poised to take a final vote today on the Washington State Senate’s two-year, operating budget proposal. Sen. Sharon Brown, the Senate’s vice president pro tempore,... Read More

Senate unanimously passes Padden’s felony-DUI bill

Published on April 03, 2015
Early this morning, at the end of a marathon session by lawmakers, the Washington State Senate unanimously passed Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to make a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony. The policy is also funded in the Senate’s operating budget proposal, which was debated last night and is scheduled for a vote... Read More

Former MCC Majority Leader Tom honored

Published on April 01, 2015
Today the Majority Coalition Caucus unveiled the official Majority Leader portrait in a ceremony to honor the leadership of former Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue. Current MCC Majority Leader Mark Schoesler had this to say: “It seems like just yesterday Senator Tom and I put aside our past differences to bring the Majority Coalition Caucus together to... Read More

House panel approves trio of Brown bills tied to energy and jobs

Published on April 01, 2015
Economic-development committee endorses nuclear-education program, training for clean-energy jobs Today the House Technology and Economic Development Committee voted to advance three measures sponsored by state Sen. Sharon Brown, including her signature pro-jobs bill – the Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act. “I have focused this session on looking for bipartisan solutions that support the needs... Read More

Senate delivers a ‘no-new-taxes’ budget proposal, cuts college tuition 25 percent

Published on March 31, 2015
OLYMPIA…”This is a bold budget proposal that delivers on the promise to make education the top priority and to live within our means. The Senate budget delivers tax relief for families, fully funds K-12 education and protects the most vulnerable – all without raising taxes. “This budget sends the message to families across Washington that,... Read More

Senate Budget Priorities

Published on March 31, 2015
Senate budget fully funds education, cuts tuition without raising taxes Students, teachers and parents would see significant funding increases for the state’s public schools while in-state tuition would be reduced for the first time since at least the 1970’s without raising taxes under Senator Andy Hill’s budget proposal released Tuesday. “We crafted this budget  to... Read More

New taxes not needed to fully fund education

Published on March 27, 2015
Following today’s release of the House of Representative’s new two-year operating budget proposal, Sen. Andy Hill, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee issued this statement: “The House’s reliance on volatile tax increases goes against the state’s paramount constitutional duty to fund education with a reliable and stable revenue source. While increasing state spending... Read More

Statewide editorials on Gov. Inslee’s risky climate plan

Published on March 26, 2015
OUR VOICE: INSLEE’S CAP AND TRADE A BAD PLAN FOR WASHINGTON If the cap-and-trade were successful, the revenues would decrease and schools and transportation would be left underfunded, again. At best, if successful, the plan is a stopgap. (March 13, 2015) Read the full editorial here.   INSLEE’S BUDGET GOALS ARE GOOD; APPROACH IS RISKY... Read More

Women’s History Month 2015

Published on March 25, 2015
Narrated by Senator Parlette, this video commemorates Women’s History Month by recognizing the achievements of the women in Washington’s past that paved the way for women in leadership today. Read More

Women’s History Month 2015

Published on March 25, 2015
Narrated by Senator Parlette, this video commemorates Women’s History Month by recognizing the achievements of the women in Washington’s past that paved the way for women in leadership today. Read More

House hearing held on Padden bill protecting private-property rights

Published on March 25, 2015
Today the Washington State House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to protect private-property owners from having their property taken by government and given to a private company for economic-development purposes. The bill also would clarify that issues of blight and economic development are not sufficient causes for eminent-domain condemnations. “Private-property... Read More

Home care union contract poses big issues

Published on March 25, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Fifteen years ago, home care workers and others like them were the last great frontier for public-employee-union organizing efforts nationwide. They didn’t look like state employees, they didn’t work like state employees, but they collected state paychecks and there were... Read More

Auditor needs to come clean

Published on March 24, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. What do you do when the state’s top investigator finds himself under investigation? That’s the uncomfortable question before us this week as state Auditor Troy Kelley hunkers down in his office and addresses enormous public doubt by saying nothing at... Read More

Auditor needs to come clean

Published on March 24, 2015
What do you do when the state’s top investigator finds himself under investigation? That’s the uncomfortable question before us this week as state Auditor Troy Kelley hunkers down in his office and addresses enormous public doubt by saying nothing at all. Kelley has a right to remain silent, of course – as a private citizen.... Read More

Home care union contract poses big issues

Published on March 24, 2015
Fifteen years ago, home care workers and others like them were the last great frontier for public-employee-union organizing efforts nationwide. They didn’t look like state employees, they didn’t work like state employees, but they collected state paychecks and there were a lot of them. That made them a target. Today this successful organizing drive is creating... Read More

Padden bill tackling designer drugs heard in House committee

Published on March 23, 2015
Today the House Commerce and Gaming Committee heard public testimony on a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden that would increase fines for the sale of designer drugs, such as synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones and methcathinones – commonly referred to as “bath salts.” The measure would also create a civil liability under the Consumer Protection Act... Read More

House technology committee schedules hearings for Brown nuclear power-related bills

Published on March 20, 2015
On Thursday the House Technology and Economic Development committee announced that on March 25, it will hear public testimony on four energy bills sponsored by state Sen. Sharon Brown, including three measures dealing with nuclear-energy education and economic development. “We worked extremely hard in the Senate to produce bipartisan bills and included several amendments by... Read More

Seattle Times: Reducing class size starts with building more classrooms

Published on March 18, 2015
AT a time when the Legislature is debating the best way to pay for basic education in K-12 schools, it makes sense to start with the most basic element of all: classrooms. No matter what we do this legislative session, we’re going to need more of them. That means tackling an outdated school-construction model that... Read More

Seattle Times: Reducing class size starts with building more classrooms

Published on March 18, 2015
AT a time when the Legislature is debating the best way to pay for basic education in K-12 schools, it makes sense to start with the most basic element of all: classrooms. No matter what we do this legislative session, we’re going to need more of them. That means tackling an outdated school-construction model that... Read More

House panel hears testimony on Padden bill to increase judicial independence

Published on March 18, 2015
Today the House Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden aimed at increasing the independence of the state’s administrative-law judges by reducing opportunities for them to be pressured or punished by state-agency heads. “It’s so important for the public to have confidence in the administrative-law process, as well as... Read More

Nuclear technology is the new way to go green

Published on March 18, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. In an era when carbon emissions are becoming a major concern and clean energy is a popular cause, Washington is poised to become a center for the development of one of the greenest technologies around. Clean, safe, abundant, all it... Read More

Will House budget play by the rules?

Published on March 18, 2015
This post originally appeared on the leadership blog of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Some things go without saying. It’s a good idea to obey traffic signals, you ought to pay your taxes, and you should always eat your vegetables. Some things here in the Legislature are just as basic. When our Democratic... Read More

Will House budget play by the rules?

Published on March 18, 2015
Some things go without saying. It’s a good idea to obey traffic signals, you ought to pay your taxes, and you should always eat your vegetables. Some things here in the Legislature are just as basic. When our Democratic colleagues in the House present their budget proposal sometime in the next week or so, we... Read More

Nuclear technology is the new way to go green

Published on March 18, 2015
In an era when carbon emissions are becoming a major concern and clean energy is a popular cause, Washington is poised to become a center for the development of one of the greenest technologies around. Clean, safe, abundant, all it needs is a bit of encouragement from the state and a willingness to understand that... Read More

Senate delivers on college-tuition cap, jobs and critical transportation reforms

Published on March 11, 2015
OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered this statement following today’s cutoff for voting on Senate bills, except for measures specifically tied to a new state operating budget: “The Senate continues to lead the way on this session’s most important and anticipated policy initiatives. We said we would deliver on job creation, college affordability and... Read More

Brown measure would take ‘real-world’ look at economic impact of large-scale revenue bills

Published on March 11, 2015
Today the Senate approved a fiscal-reform measure sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown that would establish a process for looking at the impact large-scale revenue measures would have on human behavior and how those behavioral changes would affect the economy. “The fiscal notes we are all familiar with only ask agencies to determine their actual cost... Read More

Padden bill protecting private-property rights approved by Senate

Published on March 11, 2015
Today the Senate approved Senate Bill 5363, which would prohibit government’s use of its eminent-domain power for economic development. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, passed the Senate by a vote of 30-19 and now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration. The term “eminent domain” refers to the power to take... Read More

A fresh approach to clean energy, carbon reduction

Published on March 11, 2015
This post originally appeared in the Majority Coalition Caucus leadership blog, Exit 105. When we in the Washington Senate passed our energy bill this week, we achieved one of the most elegant solutions to one of the most intractable problems our Legislature has ever faced. How do we fix our troubled renewable-energy law?  Not only... Read More

Distaste for debate is ominous message from House

Published on March 11, 2015
This post originally appeared in the Majority Coalition Caucus leadership blog, Exit 105. Maybe this is the sort of thought that occurs when you’ve been at the statehouse for the last 23 sessions, like I have, and you’ve seen just about everything. But over the last week the state House and Senate have been rolling... Read More

Distaste for debate is ominous message from House

Published on March 11, 2015
Maybe this is the sort of thought that occurs when you’ve been at the statehouse for the last 23 sessions, like I have, and you’ve seen just about everything. But over the last week the state House and Senate have been rolling out this year’s biggest policy bills – and I wonder if I was... Read More

A fresh approach to clean energy, carbon reduction

Published on March 11, 2015
When we in the Washington Senate passed our energy bill this week, we achieved one of the most elegant solutions to one of the most intractable problems our Legislature has ever faced. How do we fix our troubled renewable-energy law?  Not only did we hit on what I think is the golden answer, we also... Read More

Did we hear that right?

Published on March 11, 2015
During a television interview, Gov. Jay Inslee puts the (rather questionable) cost-estimates for his carbon-reduction program in perspective: “We can do this for pennies. And our kids’ health is worth pennies.” KIRO-TV, Nov. 17, 2014. Read More

Senate approves bill to add nuclear energy to Green Power Program

Published on March 10, 2015
Today the Senate continued its efforts to add nuclear-generated power to the state’s clean-energy mix. By a bipartisan vote of 29-20, the Senate passed a measure sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown that would include carbon-free nuclear power on the list of alternative-energy sources included in the state’s voluntary Green Power Program. “Nuclear energy is clean,... Read More

O’Ban’s Homeless Youth Act clears Senate

Published on March 10, 2015
On any given night in the state, there are over 20,000 people who are homeless, with half of those being families. Sen. Steve O’Ban has sponsored Senate Bill 5404, the Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act, ensuring that homeless youth and adults have support they need to thrive and avoid human trafficking, the criminal justice... Read More

Padden measure to help neighborhoods deal with nuisances moves to House

Published on March 10, 2015
Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to help cities and towns protect their taxpayers from the cost of nuisance abatement was passed by the Senate today by a vote of 40-9 and now heads to the House of Representatives. “In January, Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson and City Attorney Cary Driskell came to Olympia to meet... Read More

Senate passes WSU med-school bill with overwhelming bipartisan support

Published on March 10, 2015
OLYMPIA… The Washington state Senate Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing Washington State University to teach medicine – the first step toward establishing a Washington State University medical school in Spokane. The 45-4 vote for Senate Bill 5487 is a huge win, not just for Spokane but for the entire state, said the measure’s sponsor,... Read More

Senate unanimously passes Padden bill to simplify collection of forensic samples

Published on March 10, 2015
On Monday the Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden aimed at making it easier for law enforcement to obtain blood samples for forensic testing in criminal investigations – especially those concerning DUI offenses. “In some jurisdictions there is up to a five-hour delay in acquiring an authorized blood sample,” said Padden,... Read More

Ericksen oil-train safety legislation clears state Senate

Published on March 10, 2015
OLYMPIA… After more than a year in preparation, an oil-train safety bill cleared the Washington Senate Monday night, putting the state’s emphasis on emergency preparedness and planning, and leaving open the possibility of further action on state waterways. “The public has a legitimate reason to be concerned about the safety of crude-by-rail,” said state Sen.... Read More

Senate approves Ericksen energy bill, boosts jobs and reduces carbon emissions

Published on March 10, 2015
OLYMPIA… The Washington Senate approved energy legislation Monday evening that aims to boost jobs, prevent steep increases in electric bills — and for the first time in legislative history, launches a practical program to reduce carbon emissions statewide. “We can achieve big results, here and now, today – by making modest changes to our state’s... Read More

Senate passes Brown measures on nuclear education and jobs

Published on March 06, 2015
Today the Senate approved two measures sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown aimed at supporting nuclear education and preparing the state to attract more economic development and jobs tied to the nuclear power industry. Brown, a member of the Senate’s energy committee and the Legislature’s leading advocate for nuclear power, called her Nuclear Ambassadors Program a... Read More

Community economic revitalization bill adopted by Senate

Published on March 05, 2015
Sen. Judy Warnick has been working for two years to boost rural economic development with changes to the Community Economic Revitalization Board. Today the Senate passed Senate Bill 5442 which makes needed changes to the Board’s requirements to improve competitiveness and spur economic growth. The Board offers financing and grants to local jurisdictions but requires... Read More

Senate approves O’Ban mental-health reform bills

Published on March 04, 2015
The Senate dedicated Wednesday afternoon to addressing reforms to the state’s mental-health system. Sen. Steve O’Ban, chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee has been working to change the way the state delivers essential services and provides mental he-lth treatment. With strong bipartisan support the Senate approved two of his reform... Read More

‘Joel’s Law’ voted out of Senate

Published on March 04, 2015
The Senate approved Senate Bill 5269, known as ‘Joel’s Law’ with strong bipartisan support. The law is named for Joel Reuter, a severely mentally-ill man who was shot and killed by police in Seattle in July 2013. Sponsor of the bill, Senator Steve O’Ban, chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee,... Read More

Senate passes Brown’s bills to encourage job growth

Published on March 03, 2015
Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act will help resuscitate local economies, says Brown Today the Senate voted 30-19 to pass the Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act, aimed at helping local communities create jobs by speeding up the permitting process for large-scale projects of statewide significance. Earlier today the Senate also approved a bill to... Read More

Kent lawmakers team up to protect Thunderbirds hockey

Published on March 03, 2015
For 37 years the Seattle Thunderbirds have hosted talented amateur hockey players competing in the Western Hockey League. The Thunderbirds, who have played in Kent since 2009, faced potential shutdown after a complaint filed with the state claimed players were professional athletes and therefore subject to certain wage and labor laws. The Senate today unanimously... Read More

Teachers convicted of sex crimes shouldn’t get pensions; give it to their victims

Published on March 03, 2015

Senate delivers on transportation – can we avoid a political detour in the House?

Published on March 03, 2015
It took three long years, but after bipartisan negotiations, public meetings in 10 cities, extensive study and much debate in Olympia, the state Senate delivered on its promise to reform Washington’s broken transportation system. With a bipartisan vote Monday we passed a statewide transportation package that creates 200,000 jobs, gets our economy moving, fixes our... Read More

A lingering stink regarding judicial fairness

Published on March 03, 2015
Last year there was a furor when it appeared the staff of the Office of Insurance Commissioner leaned on a judge in order to obtain favorable decisions. This rather troubling situation was possible because the judge in question, Patricia Petersen, was employed by the Insurance Commissioner’s office. But here’s the part I think ought to... Read More

Senate approves Padden bill to increase judicial independence

Published on March 02, 2015
Today the Senate approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden aimed at increasing the independence of the state’s administrative-law judges by limiting the ability of state-agency heads to add undue pressure or retribution during administrative hearings. “I was a district court judge for 12 years,” said Padden, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice... Read More

We said we would deliver and we did

Published on March 02, 2015
Statement from Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on passage of the Senate transportation package. “We said we would deliver and we did. Today’s bipartisan vote on a statewide transportation package creates 200,000 jobs, gets our economy moving, fixes our crumbling highways and provides more accountability in the way we manage our transportation dollars. That’s a... Read More

We said we would deliver and we did

Published on March 02, 2015
Statement from Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on passage of the Senate transportation package. “We said we would deliver and we did. Today’s bipartisan vote on a statewide transportation package creates 200,000 jobs, gets our economy moving, fixes our crumbling highways and provides more accountability in the way we manage our transportation dollars. That’s a... Read More

Senate transportation plan finishes North-South Freeway, huge win for Eastern Washington, Baumgartner says

Published on March 02, 2015
OLYMPIA… A $15 billion transportation plan approved by the state Senate March 2 finally realizes Spokane’s dream of a North-South freeway and offers a big win for Spokane County and Eastern Washington, says state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. “We’ve been talking about a North-South Freeway in Spokane since the 1940s,” Baumgartner said. “Finally we have... Read More

Senate budget committee backs Padden’s felony-DUI bill

Published on February 27, 2015
Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to make a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony is one step closer to Senate passage, after receiving a “do-pass” recommendation from the Senate’s Ways and Means committee today. “We heard from the family of Russell Bartlett, a wonderful man who volunteered at hospices, who was mowed down at... Read More

Productive session so far for Energy, Environment and Telecommunications, says Chairman Ericksen

Published on February 27, 2015
OLYMPIA… As the state Legislature passes its first important deadlines, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, rates this as a productive session for his Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. “We’ve done plenty to protect our state’s low-cost energy, promote manufacturing and preserve jobs,” said Ericksen, chairman of the Senate energy panel. “Among other things, we have offered... Read More

TVW The Impact: ‘Is increasing state employee salaries the right priority?’

Published on February 26, 2015

Washington founders of Civil Air Patrol honored by Senate

Published on February 24, 2015
The four Washingtonians who helped found the Civil Air Patrol more than 70 years ago were honored today during a ceremony in the state Senate chamber. Lt. Col. Warren Davis of Seattle and Lt. Col. Richard Hagmann of Spokane attended, as did the family members representingtheir deceased comrades: Lt. James Campbell of Redmond and Master... Read More

Washington teacher’s union supports convicted child molesters receiving state funded pensions

Published on February 24, 2015
In Washington, public employees who commit a crime don’t lose their taxpayer guaranteed retirements, and teachers can earn the right to a lifetime retirement after working for as little as five years. In Washington, public employees who commit a crime don’t lose their taxpayer guaranteed retirements, and teachers can earn the right to a lifetime... Read More

Senate supports Brown’s call for action on federal nuclear-waste repository

Published on February 24, 2015
The Senate today unanimously adopted Senate Joint Memorial 8000, a measure introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, which asks Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and develop a permanent federal nuclear-waste repository. “In order for Washington to make the most of its nuclear power potential, the state... Read More

The SMART Act: Measuring outputs, not just inputs

Published on February 24, 2015
Much of the public discussion and advocacy surrounding the budget writing process often tends to focus on inputs, or the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on a particular program. The Legislature has an equally important duty to study the outputs, or the actual results of the way they spend taxpayer dollars. Accountability and transparency are... Read More

The SMART Act: Measuring outputs, not just inputs

Published on February 24, 2015
Much of the public discussion and advocacy surrounding the budget writing process often tends to focus on inputs, or the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on a particular program. The Legislature has an equally important duty to study the outputs, or the actual results of the way they spend taxpayer dollars. Accountability and transparency are... Read More

Senate approves Padden bill to update mental-evaluation law

Published on February 24, 2015
Today the Senate approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden that would allow courts to order a mental evaluation of an offender, even if the Department of Corrections does not file a presentence report. While such reports are required, they are no longer routinely prepared by DOC. “One of the most important things that... Read More

Senate continues to offer better solutions and ideas to move Washington forward

Published on February 24, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on the cutoff for Senate committees to vote out policy bills: “We continue to offer better solutions and ideas to move Washington forward. The cutoff for policy bills shows that we’re serious about job growth, funding education as a first priority, and making sure the state lives within its... Read More

Senate continues to offer better solutions and ideas to move Washington forward

Published on February 24, 2015
“We continue to offer better solutions and ideas to move Washington forward. The cutoff for policy bills shows that we’re serious about job growth, funding education as a first priority, and making sure the state lives within its means. We’re making great progress on transportation reforms, student achievement and helping families realize the dream of... Read More

After OIC scandal Spokesman-Review endorses Sen. Padden’s efforts to ensure judicial independence

Published on February 23, 2015
After the scandal at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Sen. Mike Padden’s bill is vital reform to bring greater safeguards and independence to the state’s administrative judicial system. So says the editorial board of the Spokesman-Review “Administrative law courts are an important venue for resolving all manner of complaints against the state, and they... Read More

Early revenue forecast opens budget process

Published on February 20, 2015
The state’s chief economist released first quarter tax revenue projections today one month earlier than normal after Sen. Andy Hill successfully moved it forward to give budget writers additional time to complete a new state budget. The forecast, adopted by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council which is chaired by Hill, projects $37.1 billion during... Read More

Time to act on oil-train safety legislation, Ericksen says

Published on February 19, 2015
OLYMPIA… The case for oil-train safety legislation has been made all the stronger by derailments this week in Ontario and West Virginia, says state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, sponsor of a comprehensive oil-train bill in the Washington State Senate. “The derailments in Ontario and West Virginia ought to make it clear to everyone that the... Read More

Rivers seeks to clarify guardian ad litem rules

Published on February 18, 2015
When Vancouver resident Tina Toth phoned state Sen. Ann Rivers’ office over three years ago, she had hit the bureaucratic equivalent of a brick wall and didn’t know where to turn. Toth had just lost custody of her two boys through a stunning decision to place them with her physically abusive ex-husband. A family-court commissioner... Read More

Padden continues work to end human trafficking

Published on February 16, 2015
Saying that there is still work to be done, today Sen. Mike Padden oversaw the Senate Law and Justice Committee’s review of several bills aimed at addressing human trafficking. “The Washington State Legislature has an excellent history of dealing with the issue of human trafficking,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley and chairman of the committee. “Shared... Read More

‘Aiden’s Act’ scheduled for public hearing Tuesday

Published on February 16, 2015
Sen. Steve O’Ban’s effort to bring about swifter intervention in cases of suspected child abuse will come before the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee next week. Senate Bill 5888, known as “Aiden’s Act,” is scheduled for a public hearing at 10 a.m.Tuesday.  The bill is named for Aiden Barnum, a Port Orchard... Read More

Senate adopts Brown resolution on Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Published on February 12, 2015
A Richland grandmother’s story led Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, to introduce a resolution today to recognize and celebrate the American Heart Association’s designation of the week of Feb. 7-14 in 2015 and each succeeding year as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. “Camden is three years old and it is his story that inspired me to... Read More

College Affordability Program

Published on February 12, 2015

Padden bill to help new small businesses clears Senate panel

Published on February 12, 2015
On Wednesday, a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden that would provide tax relief for Washington’s new small businesses was approved by the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee. “We know that the first three years are the most critical to a small business being able to survive,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “Reforming the business-and-occupation... Read More

MEDIA ADVISORY: Sens. Bailey and Braun announce major revamp to college tuition

Published on February 11, 2015
OLYMPIA… Students will join chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Sen. Barbara Bailey and Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. John Braun to unveil a new plan for higher education affordability in a news conference Thursday, Feb. 12.   Date:               Thursday, Feb. 12 at 12:45 p.m. Locations:      Senate Hearing Room 2, John A. Cherberg Bldg. Read More

Baumgartner bills aim to reduce youth unemployment, increase future success for teens

Published on February 05, 2015
OLYMPIA… A pair of bills sponsored by state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, aim to create more job opportunities as the state minimum wage reaches record heights and Washington teens find it harder than ever to obtain work. Baumgartner’s “teen wage” and “training wage” bills were heard Wednesday by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, which... Read More

Auburn students visit Capitol to share success in robotics

Published on February 05, 2015
Student participants in a statewide robotics program and competition visited Olympia Tuesday to share their work with the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. Auburn Mountainview High School senior Kyla Klasen and junior Steven Grubb highlighted the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The students are members of Washington FIRST Robotics,... Read More

Senate work session examines importance of STEM education

Published on February 04, 2015
  Delta High School students among those testifying via ground-breaking technology live from Columbia Basin College     A work session held this morning by the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee examined the importance of having a skilled and well-educated workforce and took an in-depth look at the role of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)... Read More

Ericksen releases Senate plan to promote new energy and reduce carbon emissions

Published on February 04, 2015
OLYMPIA… State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, outlined a comprehensive energy plan Feb. 4 that will be advanced through policy committees in the Washington Senate this year – a bold vision of new-energy promotion and innovation unleashed, aimed at creating and retaining jobs in Washington state while reducing carbon emissions. And one key point: No taxation... Read More

Key Senate panel unanimously approves Padden’s felony-DUI bill

Published on February 03, 2015
Momentum and support continue to grow for Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to make a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony. Today the state Senate Law and Justice Committee voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 5105, which now moves one step closer to a vote of the full Senate. “These repeat-DUI offenders are the... Read More

Brown measures to expand use of nuclear power clear Senate energy committee

Published on February 03, 2015
Today the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee approved a package of bills aimed at encouraging and expanding the use of nuclear power as part of the state’s carbon-reduction strategies. Sen. Sharon Brown, a member of the committee and the Legislature’s leading advocate for nuclear power, introduced the four measures, which are now one step... Read More

Senate panel considers Brown bills to modernize renewable energy mandate

Published on January 29, 2015
Measures would include ‘incremental’ hydro and nuclear power The public weighed in today on three bills sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown, which would expand the options for utilities seeking to meet the state’s clean-energy mandates. “It’s really important that as we look at energy going forward, we take an all-of-the-above approach,” said Brown, speaking in... Read More

Legislature’s ‘aviation caucus’ to spotlight historic wartime flights

Published on January 28, 2015
Kicking off the first 2015 meeting of the state Legislature’s “Aviation Caucus” Thursday will be a visit from two members of the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, a Bellingham-based group dedicated to recreating a flight along the historic Alaska-Siberia air route used in World War II. The little-known air route represented a dangerous 6,000-mile journey from Great... Read More

Sen. Baumgartner targets cargo crunch at ports

Published on January 28, 2015
OLYMPIA…  A memorial introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, seeks federal assistance in resolving a long-running labor dispute that appears to have slowed traffic at Pacific-coast ports and snarled international trade for Washington importers and exporters. Senate Joint Memorial 8009 asks the feds to help longshoremen and shippers reach agreement on a master... Read More

Bailey and Pearson introduce bills addressing local water-access issues

Published on January 27, 2015
Two north Puget Sound lawmakers have introduced a package of bills aimed at improving public access to water. Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, and Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, introduced the legislation to address restrictive interpretations of instream-flow laws.  Restrictions on water flow have led to many people, especially those in the Skagit River Basin, being... Read More

Sheldon joins Senate Rules Committee as membership is finalized

Published on January 27, 2015
OLYMPIA… State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, will return to the Senate Rules Committee as part of a deal that finalizes the membership of the quiet-but-powerful panel. Membership of the committee will expand by three, two positions going to Democrats, Sheldon and Andy Billig of Spokane. Also joining the committee is state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.... Read More

Pearson bill would help identify the next Oso or Mount Saint Helens

Published on January 23, 2015
On Thursday the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee held a public hearing on a measure sponsored by Sen. Kirk Pearson that would establish the Department of Natural Resources as the official depository for a library of LiDAR mapping, which would be accessible to municipalities, disaster-relief workers, builders and the general public. “It wasn’t long... Read More

Victims of revenge porn could seek civil liability under Orwall and Padden bills

Published on January 22, 2015
A couple of bills introduced in the Washington State House and Senate could give victims of revenge porn some restitution by making a person civilly liable for distributing intimate images of another intentionally and without consent. Revenge porn is the online posting of explicit images of people without their permission. The identical measures were introduced... Read More

Padden: Time for Washington to get tough on repeat DUI offenders

Published on January 22, 2015
Law and Justice Committee hears testimony on Padden measure to make fourth DUI a felony When a father, mother, grandfather, husband or friend is ripped away by the actions of a drunk driver, the pain and impact caused by that can reverberate through a family and a community. The demand for justice and the desire... Read More

Good news about employment not shared statewide, Baumgartner says

Published on January 22, 2015
Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, issued the following statement following the announcement Jan. 22 by the state Employment Security Department that Washington employment has exceeded its pre-recession peak by nearly 100,000 jobs. “It’s great to hear that we have finally caught up to where we were before the... Read More

Panel hears support for trio of Brown bills to encourage job growth

Published on January 21, 2015
Measures would expedite permitting and help create new manufacturing and construction jobs  Sen. Sharon Brown, chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, has made attracting and retaining employers in Washington and helping them create new jobs her top priority since coming to the Senate. Today, three of her bills aimed at encouraging economic... Read More

Pearson pushes for new laws dealing with disaster mitigation, domestic violence, and financial crimes

Published on January 21, 2015
By: Chris Hendrickson, Monroe News | Valley News   Disaster mitigation, domestic violence, financial crimes and marijuana processing in residential zones are just a few of the items on Washington State Senator Kirk Pearson’s agenda going in the 2015 legislative session. Pearson (R-Monroe) represents the 39th Legislative District, which includes most of Snohomish and Skagit counties... Read More

Pearson bill goes after illegal ‘skimming’ of personal information

Published on January 21, 2015
On Tuesday the Senate Law and Justice Committee held a public hearing on a measure sponsored by Sen. Kirk Pearson that would make it harder for identity thieves to use increasingly-sophisticated “skimming” technology to acquire access to victims’ personal financial information. “Identity theft is a horrible crime that can follow a victim for years,” said... Read More

Bailey reintroduces Silver Alert providing more public awareness for missing adults

Published on January 21, 2015
Sen. Barbara Bailey reintroduced legislation that creates another alert system in Washington State, called the Silver Alert. Similar to the Amber Alert, this legislation aims to address increasing instances of missing, often elderly adults with mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Up to 60 percent of persons with a dementia-related disease will wander... Read More

Washington Lawmaker Seeks To Ban E-Cigarette Sales To Minors

Published on January 20, 2015
By Ruby de Luna This week a state senate committee will hear a proposal that would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and vapes to minors. Last fall Sen. Judy Warnick got a tip from a police officer from her district in Moses Lake. He noted that students were buying e-cigarettes easily. “They were modifying... Read More

In The News: Lawmakers push for wider scope in disaster mobilization

Published on January 20, 2015
OLYMPIA — Fire officials this week are rekindling their effort to make sure a law that lets them mobilize resources to fight wildfires also applies to major emergencies such as the Oso mudslide. Public hearings are planned in the House and Senate on bills that would revise the state wildfire mobilization law to make clear... Read More

Padden introduces parental-notification bill

Published on January 19, 2015
Bill supporters to gather tomorrow at 37th annual March for Life in Olympia Calling it a common-sense measure to respect the rights of parents, Sen. Mike Padden today announced legislation to require that an underage girl’s parent or guardian be notified before she may have an abortion. Padden, R-Spokane Valley, plans to discuss Senate Bill... Read More

In the News: Lawmakers look for solutions as negotiations at port cripple economy

Published on January 16, 2015
Puget Sound Business Journal Two Washington state senators are making a plan that would stop negotiations from causing traffic at ports to slow the next time a labor contract needs renewal. Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) and Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) want to provide recommendations soon. …Brown is chair of the legislature’s Trade and Economic Development... Read More

O’Ban introduces ‘Joel’s Law’ to empower families of mentally ill seeking treatment

Published on January 15, 2015
Public hearing set Monday Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, today introduced Senate Bill 5269, to be known as “Joel’s Law,” and has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for Monday. The bill is named for Joel Reuter, a severely mentally-ill man who was shot and killed by police in Seattle in July 2013. Numerous... Read More

Senate work session examines economic impact of slowdown at ports

Published on January 14, 2015
A joint work session held this morning by the Senate Trade and Economic Development and Commerce and Labor committees took a detailed look at the reduction of trade volume at 28 West Coast ports that is crippling Washington’s agricultural community and other trade-dependent businesses. “Washington ports have been losing market share, and it is critical... Read More

Windows Into the Budget – 2015 Budget Preview: The Deficit Myth

Published on January 08, 2015
“Windows into the Budget” is a series designed to inform and engage the public about critical budget issues in Olympia. It is intended to be objective, factual, and hopefully bring clarity to complicated public policy. There is a myth, propagated by the Governor and others, that Washington faces a massive budget deficit, meaning that the... Read More

Energy independence done safe and done right is focus for Senate energy panel, Ericksen says

Published on January 06, 2015
Energy independence done safe and done right will be the central theme for the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee this year, says Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale. “Low-cost energy is one of the best things this state has going for it,” said Ericksen, who is beginning his third year as the panel’s chair. “We need... Read More

O’Ban wants inquiry on why caseworker in horrific child abuse case was promoted

Published on December 30, 2014
KING 5 Story: Sen. O’Ban wants answers and change. As chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee, he sees systemic problems at DSHS where there is little accountability and plans legislative action. A child is completely disabled after a CPS worker failed to comply with basic protocol. That worker was recently... Read More

O’Ban critical of Inslee’s weak response to JBLM/I-5 traffic congestion

Published on December 18, 2014
Sen. Steve O’Ban, R- Pierce County, who has been working for years to alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is disappointed that JBLM traffic problems are largely ignored by Gov. Jay Inslee’s new transportation proposal. “I would like to have seen the governor prioritize his project list better. Of course every... Read More

Senate budget leader responds to governor’s tax plan

Published on December 18, 2014
Responding to the operating budget proposal released by the governor Thursday morning, Sen. Andy Hill, the Senate’s chief budget writer and chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, issued this response: “The governor’s contribution to the upcoming budget process features a massive tax increase on residents and small businesses. Investing in student achievement and... Read More

Sen. Hill’s response to governor’s proposed tax increase

Published on December 18, 2014
Sen. Andy Hill issued the following statement in response to the release of the governor’s 2015 budget proposal. “The governor’s contribution to the upcoming budget process features a massive tax increase on residents and small businesses. Investing in student achievement and providing essential services should not depend on risky tax schemes that threaten our economy. Educating... Read More

King selected to lead Senate transportation committee

Published on December 17, 2014
During a meeting of Senate majority lawmakers Monday, Sen. Curtis King was chosen to chair the Senate Transportation Committee. As head of the committee, King will steer the transportation agenda and bill proposals, as well as write the biennial transportation budget. It is anticipated that the agenda will focus on passage of a reform and transportation-revenue package.... Read More

Braun holds first Latino legislative forum in 20th District

Published on December 17, 2014
More than 50 members of the 20th Legislative District’s Latino community joined Sen. John Braun on Sunday afternoon in Chehalis for a discussion about priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 12. “I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said Braun, R-Centralia, who had invited members of the area’s faith community and leaders... Read More

O’Ban appointed chair of newly named human services, mental health and housing committee

Published on December 11, 2014
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced committee leadership for the 2015 legislative session. Sen. Steve O’Ban has been appointed to chair a renamed committee, the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee, formerly known as the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee. O’Ban will also represent the 28th Legislative District on the Senate Ways... Read More

State Senate majority creates new government accountability committee

Published on December 09, 2014
Announces committee leadership for 2015 legislative session The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced today Senate committee leadership for the 2015 legislative session including the addition of a new committee that will focus on government accountability and reform issues. Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said, “The committee leadership reflects the exceptional talent in this caucus who... Read More

State Senate majority creates new government accountability committee

Published on December 09, 2014
Announces committee leadership for 2015 legislative session The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced today Senate committee leadership for the 2015 legislative session including the addition of a new committee that will focus on government accountability and reform issues. Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said, “The committee leadership reflects the exceptional talent in this caucus who... Read More

Braun elected deputy leader of Senate majority

Published on December 08, 2014
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has elected Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, as Senate Majority Deputy Leader for the two-year legislative term that begins in 2015.  Braun was already a member of the MCC leadership team and is chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee. “We will have a tough job this coming legislative... Read More

Schoesler elected to lead Senate coalition as Majority Leader

Published on December 04, 2014
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus today elected Sen. Mark Schoesler as Senate Majority Leader for a two-year legislative term. “I’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for their vote of confidence and am eager to continue working on solutions for the people of Washington,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville, “It’s time to govern and roll up our sleeves... Read More

Could a nuclear future be on the table for Washington state?

Published on December 03, 2014
By Rebecca Gourley | WNPA Olympia News Service OLYMPIA — Thirty years ago, construction was halted on the massive cooling towers on Fuller Hill at Satsop with hopes of a nuclear power future vanishing in the biggest financial boondoggle in state history, coining the phrase “WHOOPS” for the Washington Public Power Supply System. Now, the... Read More

Angel Elected to Leadership Role in Senate

Published on December 02, 2014
OLYMPIA… The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced the election of Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, as Caucus Vice Chair after her first year in the Senate. Members of the Majority Coalition Caucus voted Angel into the leadership role as a key link between committee chairs and Senate leadership. “I’m excited to get to work building... Read More

$750,000 dinner bill and no food after 3 years of trying to harvest fish.

Published on November 12, 2014
Chris Ingalls, KING 5 Investigator A Washington State prison had a novel plan to feed its 2,000 inmates: open its own fish farm to to produce a steady supply of fish for the prisoners’ dinner menu. But three years and $750,000 later, the operation has not harvested a single fish that went on to be... Read More

Ethics board fines Lt. Gov. Brad Owen $15,000

Published on November 12, 2014
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen has reached a settlement with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board that fines him $15,000 for using state resources for his nonprofit organization Strategies For Youth. The settlement, released Friday and which Owen has agreed to, would allow him to pay only $10,000 of the fine if he commits no other... Read More

State agency draws criticism for spending $600,000 on Tacoma workshops to boost employee performance

Published on November 08, 2014
By Brad Shannon, August 29, 2014 A division within Washington’s biggest state agency spent $600,000 for airfare, mileage, lodging, food and guest speakers to put on educational workshops in Tacoma for about 2,160 state employees who work in welfare- and food stamp-related programs. There were three two-day events that ended Thursday at the Greater Tacoma... Read More

Report raises questions about handling of welfare fraud tips

Published on November 08, 2014
Chris Ingalls, KING 5 News A Department Social and Health Services internal report raises new questions about how effective the agency’s fraud unit is responding to tips about welfare fraud. The May 2014 Focused Accuracy Review, obtained by the KING 5 Investigators through a public records request, examined 200 tips sent to DSHS fraud investigators.... Read More

Rivers receives 2014 Outstanding Legislator Award from WA Association of Sewer & Water Districts

Published on October 03, 2014
The Washington Association of Sewer & Water Districts has recognized Sen. Ann Rivers for her outstanding support of special purpose sewer & water districts. Rivers has been a tireless champion of the Public Works Trust Fund.  The Fund is an innovative state program that provides low cost loans to build infrastructure delivering safe drinking water... Read More

IN THE NEWS: Public needs voice in carbon debate

Published on August 04, 2014
Local View: Public needs voice in carbon debate By Sen. Ann Rivers  |  Published: August 3, 2014, 6:00 AM 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... Read More

NEWS: State not producing enough graduates in high-tech fields

Published on June 10, 2014
State not producing enough graduates in high-tech fields Click here to visit KING 5’s web site to see the full story. Read More

DSHS mishandling of benefit programs takes money from those who really need it

Published on May 22, 2014
Earlier this week Senator Hill caught up with KING 5 investigative reporter Chris Ingalls to discuss a new preliminary audit on DSHS’ handling of food benefits. The report showed that in 2013, roughly $35 million in benefits paid by DSHS were improperly distributed. See the full story below.     Also, watch below to hear... Read More

Honeyford is first to receive new CWU alumni award

Published on May 15, 2014
In a ceremony May 1, Sen. Jim Honeyford received the first-ever College of the Sciences Alumni of the Year award for Social Sciences from Central Washington University. The award recognizes Honeyford’s ongoing passion and interest in CWU as well as his work as chair of the Senate capital budget to fund Science Phase II, a... Read More

Honeyford’s perfect record of support for small business continues

Published on May 15, 2014
Sen. Jim Honeyford has again earned the Guardian of Small Business Award by maintaining a perfect voting record during the 2013-14 biennium on issues that count for small businesses. He was one of 15 senators to receive a 100-percent score from the National Federation of Independent Business. “Communities across the 15th Legislative District depend on... Read More

Hill’s budget stopped tuition hikes; earlier increases second highest in country since 2008

Published on May 13, 2014
Washington’s public college and university students faced the second highest tuition increase in the country since the 2008 economic recession according to a new study. After becoming the Senate’s chief budget writer in 2013, Sen. Andy Hill stopped that trend by sponsoring and earning approval for budgets that froze tuition rates for two consecutive years,... Read More

Addressing our community’s priorities for government

Published on April 29, 2014
The Legislature adjourned in mid-March and I’m pleased that we were able to take meaningful steps in support of Washington students, our most vulnerable citizens and veterans and their families. During the 2014 session, I sponsored successful legislation that: provides services to an additional 5,000 people with developmental disabilities without costing the state money; supports... Read More

Improving access to developmental disability services

Published on April 15, 2014
Following the 2014 legislative session Washington’s governor signed into law the Vulnerable Individuals Priority (VIP) Act, co-sponsored by Joe Fain of Auburn that will provide developmental disability services to 5,000 people currently on a waiting list. The measure, which had strong support of advocates for developmental disability services and lawmakers, will provide additional respite care... Read More

Post session Olympia Report

Published on April 08, 2014
In my latest Olympia Report I discuss the Legislature finishing on time–without raising taxes, bills I had signed by the governor and the Capital Budget outlook. Click HERE to read more. Read More

Honeyford bill to protect state waters signed by governor

Published on April 03, 2014
Sunnyside Sen. Jim Honeyford’s work to keep state waterways from being infested by non-native mussels and other invasive species was validated when Senate Bill 6040 was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee during a ceremony Wednesday. By using an integrated-management approach supported by Honeyford’s legislation, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will be able to... Read More