O’Ban: Voters’ wishes must be respected, I-976 implemented

Published on January 16, 2020
Sponsors package of I-976, Sound Transit legislation in response to voter outcry   OLYMPIA…After Initiative-976, known as “$30 car-tabs” passed statewide, voters expected that their wishes would be respected, and the measure would be implemented by their state government. Unfortunately, that has not happened. But Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, has introduced a package of... Read More

Senate Republicans offer comprehensive Corrections reforms, would increase safety and accountability

Published on January 15, 2020
Forward-looking approach aims to head off problems before they occur Ongoing problems at the scandal-plagued state Department of Corrections are prompting a trio of Senate Republicans to introduce a package of sweeping reforms to address what they call a costly and fatal record of mismanagement. Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said recent inmate deaths due... Read More

Senate Republicans to all of Washington: We hear you

Published on January 08, 2020
Voter frustration with high-handed response to I-976 carries over to legislative agenda  Watch our video message. OLYMPIA – Senate Republicans say they share the frustrations of Washington voters with a political establishment that has done all it can to thwart their vote last November to reduce car-tab taxes, and they are responding with an agenda... Read More

Becker: We must discourage legislators from making false accusations about each other

Published on November 21, 2019
Proposed changes to Senate’s Respectful Workplace Policy to be considered by Senate work group   OLYMPIA…….Sen. Randi Becker, caucus chair for the Senate Republican Caucus, proposed changes to the Senate’s Respectful Workplace Policy that could ensure that the Senate must deal with only good-faith accusations of misconduct.   Becker, R-Olympia, submitted the changes to the... Read More

O’Ban says Ferguson must recuse himself from defense of state in I-976 case

Published on November 11, 2019
  Click here to read Sen. O’Ban’s letter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Read More

O’Ban sponsors legislation to help fix state nursing home crisis

Published on November 08, 2019
OLYMPIA…Washington state has a crisis in skilled nursing care. Facility closures, primarily due to inadequate state reimbursements for Medicaid patients, have left many residents without a place to go. Sen. Steve O’Ban is sponsoring legislation for the 2020 legislative session intended to fix that. Washington currently has the fourth highest Medicaid shortfall in the country.... Read More

My video series continues: How does the big 20% tax increase on business make it harder to build more affordable housing?

Published on October 23, 2019
Your responses to my recent survey about the homelessness problem surpassed any previous survey that I’ve included in my newsletter. It was encouraging to see people offer their experiences and ideas on how to manage what many see as an unmanageable problem facing most of our communities today. It’s clear that the path to reducing homelessness is... Read More

Schoesler welcomes new Senator from 10th Legislative District

Published on October 21, 2019
OLYMPIA…Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released the following statement welcoming Ron Muzzall, R- to the Senate as the new senator from the 10th Legislative District.   The 10th District includes all of Island County, as well as part of northwest Snohomish County and southwest Skagit County. The seat became available when Sen. Barbara Bailey,... Read More

Senate Republican Caucus celebrates 7th anniversary of Gov. Jay Inslee’s anti-tax pledge

Published on October 11, 2019
Governor has proposed $23 billion in new taxes since inaugural OLYMPIA – Republicans in the Washington Senate today are celebrating the 7th anniversary of Gov. Jay Inslee’s promise not to raise taxes – a campaign pledge that will live in Washington history as one of the clearest and firmest ever uttered by a political candidate.... Read More

Sen. Barbara Bailey to retire after 16 years of service in the Legislature

Published on August 19, 2019
After serving the people of the 10th Legislative District in the state Legislature for 16 years, Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, will step down from the Senate effective Sept. 30. The announcement came in a letter to Republican leaders in Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties, who will nominate her successor. “Senator Bailey has been a... Read More

Inmate-health scandal at Corrections more evidence of Inslee leadership failure, say GOP senators

Published on July 29, 2019
Padden will propose expanded package of reforms in 2020 session As yet another major scandal rocks the state Department of Corrections, Senate Republicans who have been urging sweeping reforms for the agency since 2016 say enough is enough, and it’s far past time that Gov. Jay Inslee show some leadership and address the mismanagement of... Read More

Washingtonians beware — an income-tax battle is brewing

Published on July 17, 2019
O’Ban calls on Attorney General Ferguson to defend state law against incorrect court decision OLYMPIA…In the wake of yesterday’s Court of Appeals ruling on Seattle’s proposed income tax, Sen. Steve O’Ban warned Washingtonians to hunker down for a battle against the relentless push by the majority party for a statewide income tax and sent a... Read More

Seattle lawsuit part of strategy to force income tax on state, McKenna says

Published on June 26, 2019
Democratic legislators ask Court of Appeals to overrule Washington voters OLYMPIA – When majority Democrats in the state Legislature decided this wasn’t the year to push a new income tax, it didn’t mean the fight was over. The battleground just moved from the Legislature to the courts. The state Court of Appeals heard oral arguments... Read More

Padden bill banning organ-transplant discrimination signed into law

Published on May 08, 2019
Today Sen. Mike Padden’s anti-discrimination legislation to protect people with developmental disabilities who are seeking organ transplants was signed into law. Substitute Senate Bill 5405 cleared the Legislature on April 24 with unanimous support. “I am pleased that Washington has spoken clearly, with one voice, that all lives have value,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “No... Read More

Sonics legend Jack Sikma honored by Senate on induction to Hall of Fame

Published on April 18, 2019
Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, and Jack Sikma. To see Senate resolution, click here. OLYMPIA – Jack Sikma, one of the standouts on the legendary Seattle SuperSonics team that captured the 1979 NBA title, was honored by the Washington Senate Thursday on his upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In remarks to... Read More

‘Net metering’ bill forces low-income Washingtonians to subsidize solar panels for the wealthy, senators say

Published on March 05, 2019
OLYMPIA – A ‘net metering’ bill passed by the Senate Monday forces low-income Washington residents to subsidize rooftop solar panels for the well-to-do, senators complained. Senate Bill 5223 requires utilities to dramatically expand their purchases of power from customers with rooftop solar panels, to at least 4 percent of their load, if sufficient customers seek... Read More

Ericksen save-the-whales bill puts emphasis on new salmon hatcheries

Published on February 07, 2019
Promotes public-private investment in new Puget Sound hatcheries Pilot project would be built in Bellingham Best way to ensure adequate feedstock for Puget Sound orcas OLYMPIA – A proposal from state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, would leverage private investment in salmon hatcheries to help restore declining orca populations on Puget Sound. Under Senate Bill 5824,... Read More

The end of slavery and the Era of Reconstruction commemorated in Senate resolution on National Freedom Day

Published on February 01, 2019
The Washington State Senate passed a resolution Friday to commemorate the end of slavery in America and the 156th anniversary of the post-Civil War era known as Reconstruction.   Senate Resolution 8611, sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, coincides with National Freedom Day, which honors President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the congressional resolution for... Read More

O’Ban ‘job tax credit’ bill scheduled for committee hearing

Published on January 23, 2019
Goal: Incentivize job creation in counties with highest unemployment to ‘spread the wealth’ of Puget Sound prosperity OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban’s bill that would incentivize job growth in Washington counties with the highest unemployment by providing a $275-per-employee ‘job tax credit’ on new jobs will be heard during the meeting of the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic... Read More

O’Ban bill cosponsored by Democrats fights for taxpayer oversight of Sound Transit

Published on January 17, 2019
OLYMPIA…In a 2019 bill introduced this week, Sen. Steve O’Ban continues his fight for greater accountability for Sound Transit and to bring down the Sound Transit tax burden. Since the regional transit authority spends more than $54 billion in tax dollars, more than some small countries, O’Ban and fellow Senators on both sides of the... Read More

Honeyford receives award for service to veterans and their families

Published on December 14, 2018
With veterans looking on Friday, Lourdes (Alfie) Alvarado-Ramos, director of Washington’s Department of Veteran Affairs, presented Sen. Jim Honeyford with the 2018 Outstanding Service to Veterans – Legislator of the Year Award for his service to Washington’s veterans and their families. “It is really an honor to receive this recognition,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “I’ve always... Read More

O’Ban: Legislature needs to work with governor to prioritize mental health care in Washington state

Published on December 11, 2018
Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Inslee’s behavioral health priorities media availability. “I have been urging my colleagues and the governor to think of behavioral health policy and funding in the upcoming session as the next ‘McCleary’-level priority for the Legislature. It appears that the governor is taking... Read More

Schoesler: We must redouble our efforts to keep Amazon jobs in Washington

Published on November 13, 2018
Senate Republican leader concerned for retail leviathan’s future investment in local job growth OLYMPIA…Amazon’s announcement today of two locations – New York City and Arlington, Virginia – as the homes for new headquarters ends the long and closely watched search for its next wave of investment and employment. The decision also begins a new conversation... Read More

Students are now missing school, statewide officials absent

Published on August 30, 2018
For one week and counting top state officials have been unresponsive to a request from Sen. John Braun to help prevent school closures. On Aug. 24 the Senate Republican budget leader sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal requesting they take an active... Read More

Senate Republican leader concerned over ‘representation fees’ in third inquiry to Governor over changes in union dues

Published on July 13, 2018
OLYMPIA… After receiving no direct response from the Governor, Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler sent a third letter July 12, requesting clarification from Gov. Jay Inslee on how Washington plans to address changes to union dues collections. “I’m concerned that there are conversations happening behind closed doors to circumvent the Supreme Court decision, including discussions... Read More

Schoesler letter to governor sheds light on troubling union practices in wake of Janus decision

Published on July 10, 2018
OLYMPIA…In a letter delivered Monday to Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Mark Schoesler called attention to guilt and scare tactics used by a state-worker union toward a member wanting to end salary deductions for unwanted union membership. Such deductions are now illegal under last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State,... Read More

Despite welcome repeal of Seattle’s ‘head tax,’ Senate Republicans will continue fight on behalf of working families

Published on June 12, 2018
OLYMPIA…Today the Seattle City Council repealed the “head tax” it unanimously enacted less than a month ago despite widespread and deafening opposition. Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, and Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, responded to the repeal by reinforcing their determination to continue with legislation that would clearly make such a tax illegal statewide... Read More

Senate unanimously approves Brown’s College Campus Suicide Prevention bill

Published on February 08, 2018
Today the Senate unanimously passed a bill from Sen. Sharon Brown that would promote a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and behavioral health in higher education, with enhanced services to help students who are veterans. The bill is a result of a task force on mental health and suicide prevention in higher education, created by... Read More

Senate Republican leaders offer condolences amid Amtrak tragedy in Pierce County

Published on December 18, 2017
Sen. Randi Becker, R-Pierce County, who serves as the Senate Republican Caucus Chair, and Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler offered their condolences to victims of the Amtrak train derailment. “We are praying for the victims, families and all those involved in this tragedy,” said Becker. “I am thankful for the fast, robust response from our... Read More

Senators welcome House Democrats’ reengagement on Hirst

Published on December 11, 2017
Senators Judy Warnick and Jim Honeyford welcomed news that House Democrats have planned a work session Dec. 12 to discuss the Hirst water rights court decision. “I have remained hopeful since the Legislature adjourned that we can deliver a Hirst fix for rural Washington,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake, who sponsored Senate Bill 5239, the only... 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

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 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

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 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

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

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 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

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

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... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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
Clear-headed thinking with insight into the key issues of the 2020 legislative session, the leadership blog of the Senate Republican Caucus. + View Blog