Exit 105

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 session that rewrote history, not always accurately

Published on July 22, 2015
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 hasn’t kept our Democratic colleagues from claiming it. The whole thing is a little odd. If... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

Will House budget play by the rules?

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

Nuclear technology is the new way to go green

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

Distaste for debate is ominous message from House

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

A fresh approach to clean energy, carbon reduction

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

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

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

A lingering stink regarding judicial fairness

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


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