Majority Coalition college tuition freeze helped keep state’s pre-paid tuition program solvent


The Seattle Times recently reported that the state Senate’s plan to freeze tuition contributed to the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program’s long-term viability. Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler notes the positive effects of the first tuition freeze in nearly three decades.

“We had some serious concerns over the GET program. It was a huge cost, creating a $630 million unfunded liability for taxpayers. Our work to stem the tide of rising college tuition has made not only a difference for today’s students but for those making investments in their children’s futures.

“The budget we agreed on with no hikes in tuition means a forecasted $161 million surplus for the program. This is great fiscal policy that directly impacts middle-class families by eliminating an unfunded liability. The State Actuary didn’t think we could reach this goal this fast and we are well ahead of schedule.

“Had we gone with the House Democrats and Governor’s proposal, the GET program would still be in a deficit.

“This is due to the hard work of our members and the leadership of the Higher Education Committee chair, Sen. Barbara Bailey. She saw the value of GET providing an opportunity for working families to invest in their children’s education. Without her commitment the picture would be a lot different today and those opportunities may have been lost. I know she continues to work to ensure that this option for middle-class families remains viable into the future,” said Schoesler.

Sen. Braun: Inslee seeks to expand Ecology’s reach, authority

Braun Floor


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement regarding Washington’s water quality standards includes a dramatic proposal that raises many red flags for communities and families throughout the state.

There is consensus that it is time to update our water standards. No one is suggesting that we should do less to protect our environment, but the goal must be to balance cleaner water with protecting family budgets and jobs. What we don’t need is another war on jobs with more uncertainty and threats of regulations that are impossible to measure or attain.

In addition to new rules on water quality standards, Gov. Inslee said that it was time to “take a broader approach to areas that are not currently regulated.” He defined those areas as “up stream at the source,” and that “the majority of toxins come from what we build.”


Read the rest of the guest column in the Longview Daily News, here.

Sen. Ann Rivers: Public needs voice in carbon debate


Local View: Public needs voice in carbon debate

Sen. Ann RiversBy Sen. Ann Rivers  |  Published: August 3, 2014, 6:00 AM

There’s enough chatter at the Capitol about a pair of climate-change policies — familiar but complex proposals known as “cap-and-trade” and “low-carbon fuel standards” — that it’s time to ask: What do these confusing and complicated discussions mean for the average Washington resident?

Both cap-and-trade and LCFS deal with controlling the production of carbon. The two main sources of carbon emissions are motor vehicles and power plants that generate electricity.

Washington is already a low-carbon place — especially when compared to a carbon giant such as China, which produces around 8,000 million metric tons annually compared to Washington’s 96 million. And while China’s carbon emissions are on the rise, Washington continues to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint without layering on new costly and intrusive regulations.

That said, we need to have these discussions if Washington wants to be a leader in energy. Last year, a bipartisan group of legislators joined to form the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup to begin studying climate policy and its effect on family budgets and job creation.

One study shows that cap-and-trade could ultimately cost each Washington household upwards of $8,200 in disposable income per year and eliminate up to 82,000 jobs.

Read more

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

State not producing enough graduates in high-tech fields

Click here to visit KING 5’s web site to see the full story.

O’Ban calls Medal of Honor event ‘opportunity for students to meet a genuine hero’

OBan Carter group shot


Calling it a “unique opportunity to learn from a genuine hero,” Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, today joined Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter at Lakes High School for a presentation on character building. O’Ban, who sponsored Senate Resolution 8713 to honor Carter’s heroic actions in Afghanistan, shared with students the importance of recognizing the remarkable service and sacrifice of our nation’s Medal of Honor recipients.

“As Sergeant Carter shared with students, true character is built one right choice at a time,” O’Ban said, “Character is built over the long run when you decide that even small acts of service or integrity are an opportunity to go above and beyond what is required.”

Back in March when Sen. O’Ban recognized Carter before the full Senate, he wanted to see his story shared with students in his district. “There are 79 living Medal of Honor recipients and seven of those reside in Washington including three who either live here or are from Pierce County: Carter, U.S. Army Sergeant Leroy Petry and U.S. Army Specialist Kyle White. We have a unique opportunity to learn from these heroes and to honor their exceptional service right here in our community,” said O’Ban.

On Oct. 3, 2009, Carter and his unit were attacked by more than 300 enemy combatants in Kamdesh district of the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan. He was able to retrieve additional weapons and ammunition to bring back to his station, treat the wounds of fallen soldiers and carry one more than 100 meters to a first-aid station where he helped keep his comrade alive until reinforcements arrived to assist in evacuation efforts.

O’Ban hopes more schools will create opportunities for Carter to share his remarkable story and to talk about character building. The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation provides a character building curriculum for middle and high school students to encourage what it calls “the ideals of courage and selfless service to build character and promote responsible citizenship.”

“These men have given so much for our country and helped to save the lives of their comrades in arms. I’m extremely proud that Sergeant Carter and three other Medal of Honor recipients call Washington state their home and I hope they choose to remain here for a very long time,” O’Ban said.

Carter currently serves at Joint Base Lewis McChord. His story of valor while serving in Afghanistan is available on the Medal of Honor website:

Sen. Braun Op-Ed on Tourism in Washington State


















Recently, Sen. Braun co-authored an Op-Ed on the tourism industry in Washington State relating to legislation that he worked to pass this year. Please see below for the published piece in the Puget Sound Business Journal.


Our Opinion: State neglects tourism at its own peril

Sen. John Braun, R-Centrailia, chairs the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee and is president of Braun Northwest, a family-owned company that builds emergency vehicles and employs more than 150 workers. Louise Stanton-Masten is the executive director of the Washington Tourism Alliance.

Washington has it all for visitors. Spectacular mountains, beautiful seashore, abundant outdoor recreation, desert sunshine, mountain snow, urban sophistication, wineries and much more – it’s all here.

You might think we’d shout from the rooftops about the wonderful things we have to offer, but surprisingly, we don’t.

This is unfortunate, because despite the state’s benign neglect, tourism is…

Click here to read the rest of this article in the Puget Sound Business Journal