uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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