News

“Washington has lost a giant” says Senate Republican Leader of former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton’s passing

Published on August 19, 2020
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered these thoughts on the passing of former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton. Gorton, 92, died Wednesday at his daughter’s Clyde Hill home, following a long and storied career in Washington politics as a state representative, House Republican Leader, state attorney general, U.S. senator from Washington state and elder statesman... Read More

State senator who served as police officer ‘disgusted’ by treatment of outgoing Seattle police chief

Published on August 11, 2020
Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, today responded to the announcement by Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best that she will retire, effective Sept. 2. Her announcement came just hours after the Seattle City Council voted to cut the Seattle Police Department budget by 14 percent, which will result in the firing of 100 police offers and the... Read More

Calling special session now most responsible path forward

Published on June 08, 2020
Proposed across-the-board cuts are ‘blunt and crude,’ Legislature can show more care OLYMPIA…..Sen. Shelly Short, Senate Republican floor leader, R-Addy, issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the Office of Financial Management that it has proposed a 15-percent across-the-board budget cut for state agencies, as directed by the governor.     “The... Read More

“Let the people weigh in”: Senate Republicans again call for special session

Published on May 29, 2020
OLYMPIA…Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy, Senate Republican caucus , issued the following statement in response to the governor’s announcement today that the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order will end at midnight on May 31 and focus will be directed toward opening Washington’s economy county by county. “The governor’s announcement today underscores the need for a June... Read More

Republican lawmakers call for emergency legislative session in June

Published on May 21, 2020
Republican leaders in the state Legislature say lawmakers need to meet next month to deal with emergency issues related to public health, Washington’s economic recovery and the state budget, all stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. “When the Legislature adjourned in mid-March the public-health crisis related to COVID-19 was still emerging. Now there’s an economic crisis... Read More

Senate Republicans push back results in redrafting of emergency proclamation

Published on May 15, 2020
As a result of the Senate Republicans’ refusal to extend an emergency proclamation that violated the individual’s right to due process, the proclamation has been scaled back and will be reissued by the governor. The new version of the proclamation no longer suspends statutes that require court hearings to be held within a certain amount... Read More

Senate Republicans share K-12 Educational Recovery Priorities plan with Inslee, Reykdal

Published on May 09, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing the suspension of the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year for more than 1 million Washington K-12 students, members of the Senate Republican Caucus have created a five-point plan to address the current situation facing students and teachers and how best to proceed. The K-12 education plan, along with a... Read More

Inslee four-phase plan forces many businesses to stay on path to failure

Published on May 01, 2020
OLYMPIA…Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler released the following statement in response to Gov. Inslee’s announcement today that he is extending the order to stay home during the COVID-19 public health crisis until May 31 and will allow a 4-phase approach toward reopening Washington’s economy. Phase one of the plan, which would begin May 4, would... Read More

Senate Republican leader hopes more workers can return to low-risk jobs

Published on April 24, 2020
OLYMPIA…Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released the following statement in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement today that ongoing residential construction will be allowed to resume if jobsites follow a 30-point plan for safety during the coronavirus public health crisis. Schoesler said: “This is a positive move, and the governor should follow it up... Read More

O’Ban urges governor to limit car-tab collections to $30

Published on April 20, 2020
Prioritize easing financial burden on people during economic and public health crisis OLYMPIA… In a letter sent Monday, Sen. Steve O’Ban urged the governor to suspend car-tab fee collections in excess of $30, which is the amount voters approved in the recent passage of I-976. At a time when the current public health crisis is... Read More

Mass release of convicted felons violates state constitution, Senate Republicans warn

Published on April 17, 2020
Republicans ask Inslee to rethink plan – improper release of more than 1,100 inmates makes state liable for new crimes To see a copy of this letter, click here. OLYMPIA – Senate Republicans today formally asked Gov. Jay Inslee to rethink his plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis by releasing 1,167 prison inmates onto... Read More

Republican lawmakers step up with plan for safe restart of economy

Published on April 17, 2020
OLYMPIA… Republicans in the state Senate and House of Representatives today shared the first plan for safely restarting Washington’s economy while state government’s response to the COVID-19 emergency continues. “Employers across our state are looking to government for a strategy that starts to take the brake off the economy. Republicans have come through with a... Read More

Legislative Republicans’ Safe Economic Restart Plan — April 17, 2020

Published on April 17, 2020
Legislative Republicans Safe Economic Restart Plan — April 17, 2020 Read More

Schoesler statement on announcement of West Coast governors’ pact

Published on April 15, 2020
OLYMPIA… Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued this statement in response to Monday’s announcement by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Gavin Newsom that they have an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their states’ economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future. “If Washington shares a vision with... Read More

Becker to Inslee: Provide clarity to health providers hesitant to treat

Published on April 14, 2020
OLYMPIA…In a letter Sen. Randi Becker sent to Gov. Inslee this week, the former chair of the Senate Health-care Committee urged him to provide clarity to health-care providers on the scope of Proclamation 20-05 (issued March 19), which limits specific medical procedures but is resulting in clinic closures. “Clinics are being closed, needlessly depriving patients... Read More

Sheldon survey shows deep opposition to tax increases, progressive agenda

Published on March 10, 2020
“Taxpayers are not ATMs,” say voters in 35th Legislative District – a benchmark for the vast region beyond the King County line OLYMPIA – A survey of voters in the state’s most rural district displays deep opposition to the agenda being pushed through the Washington Legislature in the final days of the 2020 legislative session.... Read More

Sen. Randi Becker announces retirement from Senate at end of current term

Published on March 05, 2020
OLYMPIA…After 12 years of service in the Washington State Legislature, Sen. Randi Becker, Senate Republican Caucus Chair has announced her retirement from public office. Becker, R-Olympia plans to finish her current term but will not run for re-election in 2020.   “It has truly been my honor to represent the 2nd legislative district for the... Read More

O’Ban drops bill to protect voter privacy in presidential primary

Published on March 03, 2020
OLYMPIA…There’s little doubt that Washington’s presidential primary requiring voters to declare a party affiliation on the back of the mailing envelope, for all to see, has raised concerns with voters. Today, Sen. Steve O’Ban dropped a bill to correct what many argue is a violation of privacy and a threat to the integrity of the... Read More

O’Ban drops bill to use $100 million from state’s emergency ‘rainy day fund’ for coronavirus response

Published on March 02, 2020
OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, is sponsoring a bill that would spend $100 million of the state’s budget stabilization account (‘rainy day fund’) to assist in the response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has resulted in six deaths so far in Washington, and more than 9,000 deaths worldwide.   Gov. Inslee declared a state... Read More

Schoesler: Army Corps’ rejection of Snake River dam-breaching ought to end the argument

Published on February 28, 2020
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement Friday, after release of a long-awaited draft environmental impact statement on Snake River dam operations. The report, issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration rejected proposals to breach the four lower Snake River dams, saying benefits... Read More

O’Ban responds to King County ruling that I-976 is constitutional

Published on February 12, 2020
OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, issued the following statement in response to the ruling handed down by a King County judge that I-976, the initiative known as “$30 car-tabs” is constitutional.   The decision affirms that the title and subject matter of I-976 are constitutional and not an adequate basis on which to overturn the... Read More

State Senate honors women’s suffrage centennial

Published on February 12, 2020
Celebrates Washington’s leadership in the fight for women’s right to vote   OLYMPIA – Washington state was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. So, too, is it a leader in honoring the centennial of women gaining the right to vote in the United States. The Washington State Senate will celebrate 100 years since the... Read More

O’Ban: Liias bill to repeal I-976 is an insult to voters

Published on January 24, 2020
Legislation thumbing its nose at taxpayers should be called the “Sound Transit Dream Act”   OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, issued the following statement about a bill just dropped by a Seattle Democrat that repeals I-976 as it applies to Sound Transit car tab fees and changes the law to allow the Washington State Department... Read More

Eastern Washington senators sponsor bill to end tax chaos for concrete pumpers

Published on January 22, 2020
Three state senators from eastern Washington – 6th District Sen. Jeff Holy, 4th District Sen. Mike Padden and 7th District Sen. Shelly Short – are leading a legislative effort to fix a problem caused by the state Department of Revenue that affects how concrete pumpers are taxed. Senate Bill 6317, introduced by Holy and co-sponsored... Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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