Crucial rural water-rights issue holds up adjournment of 2017 legislative session

By Judy Warnick | 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

‘No government shutdown’ assures Senate majority leader

By Mark Schoesler | Published on June 21, 2017
Schoesler maintains confidence that budget deal will be reached in time to avoid partial shutdown OLYMPIA…Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement of a third special legislative session to finalize negotiations on a budget for the 2017-19 biennium. “I fully expect the budget teams to submit a... Read More

Senate passes real car-tab relief for third time

By Dino Rossi | Published on June 13, 2017
Senators Rossi, O’Ban call on House Democrats to ‘do the right thing’ For the third time this year, the Senate today passed a measure aimed at giving taxpayers real relief from Sound Transit’s controversial and inflated car-tab taxes. Senate Bill 5893, which passed the chamber 25-22, would slash car-tab taxes in the Sound Transit taxing... Read More

Majority leader confident Legislature will reach budget deal soon

By Mark Schoesler | Published on June 13, 2017
Bipartisan plan to fully fund basic education expected to account for over 50 percent of spending   OLYMPIA…As the Legislature’s second special session for 2017 enters a third week, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler today expressed optimism and confidence that lawmakers will reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a new budget before the end of... Read More

Only 37 percent would still vote to approve Sound Transit 3

By Dino Rossi | Published on June 07, 2017
State senators who serve areas within the Sound Transit taxing district say it’s no surprise that new poll results show support for Sound Transit 3 has plummeted 17 points since the November election, when it passed 54 percent to 46 percent. If given a chance to vote again, 51 percent of likely voters would reject... Read More

Senate Law and Justice Committee to consider charges against Sound Transit

By Dino Rossi | Published on May 15, 2017
Today the chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Sen. Mike Padden, announced that he is planning to have the panel look into charges that Sound Transit engaged in a “systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of the ST3 authorization to legislators and the public.” In a letter to Senators... Read More

Rossi, O’Ban call for investigatory hearings on Sound Transit

By Dino Rossi | Published on May 11, 2017
Sens. Steve O’Ban and Dino Rossi are calling for an investigation into whether Sound Transit engaged in a “systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of the ST3 authorization to legislators and the public.”  In a letter sent today to the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and the chair of the... Read More

Senate passes Corrections reform bill a second time, keeps issue alive

By Mike Padden | 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

By Judy Warnick | 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

By Hans Zeiger | 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

By Sharon Brown | 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

By Randi Becker | 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

In the News: Making Washington More Appealing For Manufacturing

By Sharon Brown | Published on April 11, 2017
By Mike Richards -The Lens April 6, 2017 A Senate bill making its way through the Washington State Legislature aims to attract more manufacturing companies to move to the state and incentivize those and any existing businesses to remain and build their projects within Washington. SB 5642, which would offer tax deferrals for eligible manufacturing projects to be reinvested into job training... Read More

House approves Brown’s ‘Youth Behavioral Health Protection Act’

By Sharon Brown | 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

Taking the classroom to the Capitol with technology

By Joe Fain | Published on March 30, 2017
Dragging a class of high school students 42 miles from their South King County classroom to the state Capitol is rarely an option during the busy school year. But this week an Auburn High School journalism class did manage to speak directly with Sen. Joe Fain, their state senator, about legislation they were tracking in... Read More

Senate capital budget would provide unprecedented support for education

By Jim Honeyford | 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

O’Ban, Rossi say Sound Transit move to engage misses mark

By Dino Rossi | Published on March 23, 2017
The Sound Transit board passed a motion today to authorize its CEO “to continue communications and engagement with the State Legislature” in order to “pursue options to address public concerns” about its inflated car tab tax calculation method.  Sens. Steve O’Ban and Dino Rossi said the premise of the motion does not address the public... Read More

Car tab collection at risk for Sound Transit with O’Ban amendment to transportation Budget

By Steve O'Ban | 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

Senator King tells transit agency to consider soldiers and find a fair solution

By Curtis King | 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 majority unites behind measure to stop unfair Sound Transit taxes

By Steve O'Ban | 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

By John Braun | 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

Brown’s nuclear SMR, hydropower bills passed by Senate

By Sharon Brown | Published on March 07, 2017
Today the Senate advanced two measures sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown aimed at encouraging and expanding the use of carbon-free power and emerging energy technologies – including incremental hydropower, nuclear power and small modular reactors. “We all support clean energy, but the key is doing so in a way that works for employers, energy consumers... Read More

Senate’s minority Democrats vote down proposed income-tax ban

By Phil Fortunato | 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

By Mike Padden | 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

Senate passes bill to increase accountability of DSHS’s Division of Behavioral Health & Recovery

By Randi Becker | 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

By Dino Rossi | 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

By Maureen Walsh | 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

Warnick legislation to fix flawed Hirst water decision clears Senate

By Judy Warnick | Published on March 01, 2017
  Sen. Judy Warnick’s legislation to fix the Hirst decision was approved Tuesday evening by the state Senate, despite efforts by some opposition Democrats to delay a legislative response that would aid rural homeowners. The decision, issued by the state Supreme Court in late 2016, effectively prevents the drilling of small, household wells without costly... Read More

Becker bill to improve contracting diversity at UW passes Senate

By Randi Becker | 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

Warnick bill would grant new protections for state’s cattle industry

By Judy Warnick | Published on February 28, 2017
Sen. Judy Warnick’s legislation to have air-quality rules treat cattle feedlots the same as other agricultural operations was approved today by the state Senate. Agricultural operations are exempt from state clean-air rules; Warnick’s Senate Bill 5196 would extend the exemption to feedlots while establishing a process and guidelines for addressing activities that may be detrimental... Read More

Washington dogs ‘pawsitively’ ecstatic for new humane treatment law

By Joe Fain | Published on February 28, 2017
The Senate just passed my bill to help keep dogs safe and healthy when they’re leashed and left alone. This legislation not only had the support of the full Senate and animal care advocates, but also every dog I spoke to on the issue. Read more about it below. Sen. Joe Fain, animal advocates, and... Read More

Senate votes to make 4th DUI a felony – for 6th time

By Mike Padden | 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

Becker seeks to address ‘unconscionable’ agency actions with stricter oversight

By Randi Becker | 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

Brown measures on emerging technologies clear Senate energy committee

By Sharon Brown | Published on February 09, 2017
Four bills would recognize clean-power advantages of nuclear energy, make geothermal exploration and SMR manufacturing easier in Washington Today the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee advanced a package of bills aimed at encouraging and expanding the use of emerging energy technologies – including geothermal exploration, nuclear power and small modular reactors. Sen. Sharon Brown,... Read More

Warnick plans Tuesday hearing on collaborative approach to Washington rural development

By Judy Warnick | Published on January 20, 2017
The chair of the Senate’s water-policy committee has responded to an anti-rural ruling from the state Supreme Court by filing legislation concerning the availability of water for new household wells. Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, has scheduled Senate Bill 5239 for a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. before the Senate Agriculture, Water,... Read More

VIDEO: Charter Local Edition NW w/Sen. Sharon Brown

By Sharon Brown | Published on August 02, 2016
Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) discusses nuclear power, small modular reactors and economic development with Charter Local Edition’s Dana Cowley. Read More

Building Insight Magazine: Streamlining Government

By Sharon Brown | Published on June 07, 2016
By State Senator Sharon Brown …As chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, I’m fighting to shrink government while streamlining the way it interacts with businesses. A business that has fewer regulations to deal with has more time and resources to expend elsewhere. That translates into a reinvestment in the business (i.e. creating... Read More

Senate report on deadly prison releases blames Corrections execs, governor’s office

By Mike Padden | 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

Rivers’ corrections-partnership bill a ‘game changer’ for law enforcement

By Ann Rivers | 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

Bailey water-storage and family-caregiver planning bills become law

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on April 04, 2016
After the conclusion of a 20-day special session, two bills sponsored by Sen. Barbara Bailey, R- Oak Harbor, were signed in a formal ceremony Friday morning. Senate Bill 6589, which was approved near-unanimously, directs state agencies in charge of water management to study the feasibility of water storage to recharge the Skagit River basin so that users... Read More

57 Seconds: higher education

By Joe Fain | Published on March 07, 2016
Senator Joe Fain breaks down Washington’s public higher education system and how tuition works in 57 Seconds. Read More

Senate approves ‘true’ supplemental capital budget

By Jim Honeyford | 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

By Jim Honeyford | 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 approves Braun bill to rein in authority of state agencies

By John Braun | 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

Becker’s plan to broaden telemedicine unanimously endorsed by Senate

By Randi Becker | 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

Braun bill to boost state’s mental-health system approved

By John Braun | Published on February 16, 2016
Today the state Senate approved legislation introduced by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia to expand the pool of medical professionals capable of addressing mental-health needs of Washingtonians. Senate Bill 6445, which cleared the Senate unanimously, would clarify state law to include physician assistants in the delivery of mental-health services. “Our state needs more mental-health professionals to... Read More

Senate unanimously passes Brown’s Cyber Security Jobs Act

By Sharon Brown | Published on February 15, 2016
On Thursday the Senate unanimously approved the Cyber Security Jobs Act – a measure sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown, aimed at making Washington a national leader in cyber security. “Washington is home to groundbreaking cyber security research and development,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Tri-Cities is leading the way to prevent... Read More

Bailey “Degree in Three” work group legislation approved by Senate

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on February 12, 2016
Late Thursday evening the state Senate approved Sen. Barbara Bailey’s legislation aimed at reducing the time Washington’s college students need to earn a degree. Senate Bill 6626 establishes a work group aimed at helping students earn their bachelor’s degree in three years. The measure was approved unanimously and now moves to the House of Representatives... Read More

Senate recognizes sacrifices made by law enforcement officers

By Steve O'Ban | 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

Brown, Padden: Remote testimony options to expand in 2016 session

By Sharon Brown | 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

Schoesler named ‘Legislative Champion’ by Washington Association of Realtors

By Mark Schoesler | 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

Ericksen says governor lacks authority under greenhouse-gas law to impose carbon plan by executive order

By Doug Ericksen | 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

A messy session with a splendid finish

By Mark Schoesler | 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

By Jan Angel | 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

By Michael Baumgartner | 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

Session ends in ‘victory for the rest of Washington,’ Sheldon says

By Tim Sheldon | Published on July 10, 2015
OLYMPIA… Washington lawmakers wrapped up their 2015 legislative session Friday with what state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, calls “a victory for the rest of Washington” – the vast area outside metropolitan Seattle that has not shared in the urban economic boom. All told, lawmakers met for a record 176 days this year. Sen. Sheldon, who... Read More

Padden’s rapid response to Supreme Court public-safety ruling signed by governor

By Mike Padden | Published on July 07, 2015
Bill restores pretrial-monitoring tool for protecting the public On June 11 the state Supreme Court ruled that the costs for pre-trial drug and alcohol monitoring fit under the statutory meaning of “pretrial supervision,” limiting the ability of courts to order these protective measures in cash-strapped counties. By July 6 – just 25 days later –... Read More

Capital budget funds critical local projects for Shelton, Belfair and Bremerton

By Tim Sheldon | Published on July 01, 2015
OLYMPIA… Important projects for the 35th Legislative District got the nod Tuesday night as Washington lawmakers passed a $3.9 billion capital construction budget. Those projects include a $400,000 renovation of the Shelton Senior Center, $1.5 million for sewer rehabilitation in the city of Shelton, $1.5 million for wastewater relief in the community of Belfair and... Read More

Legislature passes Brown plan to encourage job growth

By Sharon Brown | 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

By Mike Padden | 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

By Sharon Brown | 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

By Michael Baumgartner | 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

By Michael Baumgartner | 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

Transportation package funds Belfair bypass, boosts highways statewide, Sheldon says

By Tim Sheldon | Published on June 29, 2015
OLYMPIA… A $16 billion transportation package approved by Washington lawmakers Monday evening completes the Belfair bypass in Mason and Kitsap counties, finishes long-delayed road projects, provides needed money for highway maintenance and enacts important reforms, said state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “Voting for a transportation package is never an easy decision,” Sheldon said. “But this... Read More

Update on transportation investment package

By Joe Fain | Published on June 28, 2015
As state lawmakers continue working to find agreement on major new transportation investments Sen. Curtis King, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Sen. Joe Fain, vice chair of the transportation budget, released this statement: “We appreciate the difficult decision the governor has made and applaud him for not allowing a single issue to stand... Read More

Senate passes Padden measures aimed at addressing recent Supreme Court decisions

By Mike Padden | 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

By Mike Padden | 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

Padden’s felony-DUI bill moves to House for third time this year

By Mike Padden | Published on June 24, 2015
For the third time since lawmakers convened at the state Capitol in January, the Washington state Senate has unanimously passed Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to make a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony. “We have only a few more days to act before the end of the current legislative session, and it is... Read More

Fain proposal hopes to expedite future state-budget negotiations

By Joe Fain | Published on June 23, 2015
The Washington state budget affects everyone in the state, but too often in recent years completing a budget has required lawmakers to go into multiple overtime sessions. With that in mind Sen. Joe Fain today introduced a bill that would reduce the time lawmakers can raise money for their re-election campaigns if they do not... Read More

Support swells at Capitol for naming new WSU medical school for Elson Floyd

By Michael Baumgartner | 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

By Mark Schoesler | 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

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | 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

Angel: “No more excuses” for House failure to pass budget

By Jan Angel | 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

Collective bargaining shouldn’t be a secret

By Judy Warnick | 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

By Jan Angel | 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

Sen. Rivers: ‘A message to our teachers’

By Ann Rivers | Published on May 22, 2015

Pearson joins domestic-violence survivor to toughen law

By Kirk Pearson | 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

‘Aiden’s Act’ now law

By Steve O'Ban | Published on May 19, 2015
O’Ban says reform will better protect children when abuse is suspected Sen. Steve O’Ban’s effort to bring about swifter government intervention in cases of suspected child abuse culminated Monday with the signing of “Aiden’s Act.” O’Ban, chair of the Senate human-services committee, named the law created by Senate Bill 5888 for Aiden Barnum, a Port... Read More

Western Hockey League teams protected by new legislation

By Joe Fain | Published on May 18, 2015
The Western Hockey League provides an important opportunity for young amateur hockey players to develop their skills and earn college scholarships. However, four Washington teams including the Kent-based Thunderbirds faced potential shutdown after a complaint filed with the state claimed players were professional athletes and therefore subject to certain wage and labor laws. Recognizing the... Read More

As forecast adds $400 million, Padden joins call for tax relief for small business

By Mike Padden | Published on May 18, 2015
A positive tax-revenue forecast is leading three state senators to call for a tax cut, saying this is the time for relief, not more spending. State Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and Michael Padden, R-Spokane Valley, are calling for a reduction in business and occupations taxes. Their plan would use half of the... Read More

Bailey bill ensures Kelley won’t boost pension during his unpaid leave

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on May 14, 2015
As state Auditor Troy Kelley takes time off to defend himself against accusations of lying, cheating and stealing, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, ensures he won’t rack up credit toward a state pension. Her measure would block statewide elected officials who are under felony indictment from garnering “service credit” when... Read More

Governor signs array of O’Ban social justice reforms

By Steve O'Ban | Published on May 14, 2015
In a formal ceremony today, Gov. Jay Inslee signed three landmark pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County. The first law empowers families seeking mental-health treatment for loved ones, known as “Joel’s Law.” The second ground-breaking reform increases fairness for juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system by changing requirements for sealing... Read More

Governor signs Roger Freeman Act to help families in need

By Mark Miloscia | Published on May 14, 2015
OLYMPIA… 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.... Read More

Senate panel hears testimony on ‘Victims’ Voice Act’

By Mike Padden | 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

Foster youth with medical concerns to receive extended care

By Joe Fain | Published on May 12, 2015
Foster youth often face a difficult transition into adulthood when services typically end. Legislation signed into law Monday, sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain and Rep. Tina Orwall, will provide extended benefits to young adults ages 19-21 with medical conditions who do not already qualify for extended foster care, which requires them to be enrolled in... Read More

Brown’s Residential Construction Recovery Act signed by governor

By Sharon Brown | 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

Senate work session examines litigation concerns tied to proposed state voting rights act

By Mike Padden | 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

Tuition-cap bill approved by Senate

By John Braun | Published on April 29, 2015
College affordability one step closer for Washington Families The Senate Majority’s College Affordability Program, Senate Bill 5954 passed with bipartisan support but surprising opposition from half of Senate Democrats. The bill, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor would reduce... Read More

Governor signs O’Ban human-trafficking bill

By Steve O'Ban | Published on April 28, 2015
Measure supports new training for law enforcement to protect vulnerable populations Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5933 Friday, sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban. The new law establishes a statewide training program for those who work on the front line to combat human trafficking. “This law is a needed tool for law enforcement to deal... Read More

Bailey amendment on oil-train safety bill provides more tools to keep communities safe

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | 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

O’Ban homeless youth prevention bill now law

By Steve O'Ban | Published on April 28, 2015
Bipartisan efforts boost resources to combat youth homelessness Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Homeless Youth Prevention Act into law Friday. Sponsored by state Sen. Steve O’Ban, Senate Bill 5404 boosts resources to homeless youth and aims to decrease homelessness with greater data and prevention efforts. “This is one of the most important pieces of legislation... Read More

Padden urges House to follow Senate lead on remote testimony

By Mike Padden | 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

By Tim Sheldon | 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

Legislature reaches compromise on oil-train safety bill, finishes regular session

By Doug Ericksen | 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

By Tim Sheldon | 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

By Mark Schoesler | 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

Schoesler: ‘Senate holds the line on last minute projects adding $128 million’

By Mark Schoesler | Published on April 15, 2015
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 think it’s fitting that to mark this day, the Senate continues to hold... Read More

Washington State Lottery…In 57 Seconds

By Joe Fain | Published on April 15, 2015
Why is there an education funding crisis in Washington if the Lottery was supposed to fund schools? Learn the truth behind the lottery: how much it raises and where does that money go in this week’s episode of 57 Seconds. Read More

Will this governor cause a government shutdown?

By Jan Angel | 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

By Jim Honeyford | 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

By Jim Honeyford | 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

By Mike Padden | 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

By Mike Padden | 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

Senate adopts Padden resolution honoring those with Down syndrome

By Mike Padden | Published on April 10, 2015
Today the Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, honoring people with Down syndrome and recognizing the efforts of people and organizations working on behalf of those with developmental disabilities. Padden shared his personal commitment to policies that recognize the rights of those with Down syndrome. “As a Legislature and as individuals we... Read More

VIDEO: Senate honors those with Down syndrome

By Mike Padden | Published on April 10, 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 who advocate on their behalf. Read More

Senate tuition-cut proposal good for families and GET program

By John Braun | Published on April 10, 2015
After Sen. John Braun introduced legislation to cut tuition at state colleges and universities some questions arose regarding the bill’s effects on Washington State’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program. Opponents of the proposal have erroneously stated the measure would reduce the value of credits already purchased through the state GET program. “I understand the concerns that... Read More

Senate passes Brown’s Invest in Washington Jobs Act

By Sharon Brown | Published on April 10, 2015
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. On Thursday, the Senate passed her “Invest in Washington” jobs bill, aimed at encouraging economic growth and new manufacturing and construction jobs. “This bill... Read More

Ericksen says big wind-farm losses for Cowlitz PUD make case for Senate energy plan

By Doug Ericksen | 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

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | 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

By Mark Schoesler | 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

Senate budget avoids new taxes, slashes tuition, boosts Mason County, Sheldon says

By Tim Sheldon | 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

By Sharon Brown | 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

Senate unanimously passes Padden’s felony-DUI bill

By Mike Padden | Published on April 03, 2015
Early this morning, at the end of a marathon session by lawmakers, the Washington State Senate unanimously passed Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to make a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony. The policy is also funded in the Senate’s operating budget proposal, which was debated last night and is scheduled for a vote... Read More

House panel approves trio of Brown bills tied to energy and jobs

By Sharon Brown | Published on April 01, 2015
Economic-development committee endorses nuclear-education program, training for clean-energy jobs Today the House Technology and Economic Development Committee voted to advance three measures sponsored by state Sen. Sharon Brown, including her signature pro-jobs bill – the Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act. “I have focused this session on looking for bipartisan solutions that support the needs... Read More

Senate delivers a ‘no-new-taxes’ budget proposal, cuts college tuition 25 percent

By Mark Schoesler | Published on March 31, 2015
OLYMPIA…”This is a bold budget proposal that delivers on the promise to make education the top priority and to live within our means. The Senate budget delivers tax relief for families, fully funds K-12 education and protects the most vulnerable – all without raising taxes. “This budget sends the message to families across Washington that,... Read More

House hearing held on Padden bill protecting private-property rights

By Mike Padden | 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

By John Braun | 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

By Mark Schoesler | 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

Padden bill tackling designer drugs heard in House committee

By Mike Padden | 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 technology committee schedules hearings for Brown nuclear power-related bills

By Sharon Brown | Published on March 20, 2015
On Thursday the House Technology and Economic Development committee announced that on March 25, it will hear public testimony on four energy bills sponsored by state Sen. Sharon Brown, including three measures dealing with nuclear-energy education and economic development. “We worked extremely hard in the Senate to produce bipartisan bills and included several amendments by... Read More

House panel hears testimony on Padden bill to increase judicial independence

By Mike Padden | 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

By Sharon Brown | 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?

By Mark Schoesler | 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

By Mark Schoesler | 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

Padden bill protecting private-property rights approved by Senate

By Mike Padden | 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

By Doug Ericksen | 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

By Mark Schoesler | 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

O’Ban’s Homeless Youth Act clears Senate

By Steve O'Ban | Published on March 10, 2015
On any given night in the state, there are over 20,000 people who are homeless, with half of those being families. Sen. Steve O’Ban has sponsored Senate Bill 5404, the Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act, ensuring that homeless youth and adults have support they need to thrive and avoid human trafficking, the criminal justice... Read More

Senate passes WSU med-school bill with overwhelming bipartisan support

By Michael Baumgartner | 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

Ericksen oil-train safety legislation clears state Senate

By Doug Ericksen | 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

By Doug Ericksen | 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 Sheldon orange-paint trespass bill

By Tim Sheldon | Published on March 09, 2015
OLYMPIA… A bill giving landowners a new way to mark their property against trespassing has cleared the state Senate, and its sponsor, state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, said he hopes it fares better than last year. Senate Bill 5233 gives property owners the right to dispense with the traditional no-trespassing signs, and instead mark their... Read More

Senate passes Brown measures on nuclear education and jobs

By Sharon Brown | Published on March 06, 2015
Today the Senate approved two measures 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. Brown, a member of the Senate’s energy committee and the Legislature’s leading advocate for nuclear power, called her Nuclear Ambassadors Program a... Read More

Sheldon bill lets motorcyclists cross the line

By Tim Sheldon | Published on March 06, 2015
OLYMPIA… The Washington Senate voted March 5 to let motorcyclists cross the line – in the passing lane, anyway. Senate Bill 5623, sponsored by state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, cleared the Senate on a 35-14 vote. After major amendments on the Senate floor, it would allow motorcyclists to pass slow-moving traffic on the pavement to... Read More

Community economic revitalization bill adopted by Senate

By Judy Warnick | Published on March 05, 2015
Sen. Judy Warnick has been working for two years to boost rural economic development with changes to the Community Economic Revitalization Board. Today the Senate passed Senate Bill 5442 which makes needed changes to the Board’s requirements to improve competitiveness and spur economic growth. The Board offers financing and grants to local jurisdictions but requires... Read More

Senate approves O’Ban mental-health reform bills

By Steve O'Ban | Published on March 04, 2015
The Senate dedicated Wednesday afternoon to addressing reforms to the state’s mental-health system. Sen. Steve O’Ban, chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee has been working to change the way the state delivers essential services and provides mental he-lth treatment. With strong bipartisan support the Senate approved two of his reform... Read More

‘Joel’s Law’ voted out of Senate

By Steve O'Ban | Published on March 04, 2015
The Senate approved Senate Bill 5269, known as ‘Joel’s Law’ with strong bipartisan support. The law is named for Joel Reuter, a severely mentally-ill man who was shot and killed by police in Seattle in July 2013. Sponsor of the bill, Senator Steve O’Ban, chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee,... Read More

Sheldon bills require agencies to “show their work,” protect privacy for process servers

By Tim Sheldon | Published on March 04, 2015
OLYMPIA… The Washington state Senate has approved a pair of bills sponsored by state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, requiring state agencies to provide more information about the science they use in land-use decisions, and protecting privacy for process servers. Sheldon’s “empirical science” measure cleared the Senate March 3 on a 27-21 vote. Senate Bill 5622... Read More

Transportation reforms, revenue and projects now at House doorstep

By Curtis King | Published on March 04, 2015
Two days after the Senate passed a $15 billion transportation package, its transportation-committee chair is crediting the people of Washington for the cost-saving reforms that set the package apart from anything the Legislature has passed. “The bills we have laid at the doorstep of the House of Representatives, with broad bipartisan votes, contain some very... Read More

Senate passes Brown’s bills to encourage job growth

By Sharon Brown | Published on March 03, 2015
Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act will help resuscitate local economies, says Brown Today the Senate voted 30-19 to pass the Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act, aimed at helping local communities create jobs by speeding up the permitting process for large-scale projects of statewide significance. Earlier today the Senate also approved a bill to... Read More

Teachers convicted of sex crimes shouldn’t get pensions; give it to their victims

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on March 03, 2015

Senate transportation plan finishes North-South Freeway, huge win for Eastern Washington, Baumgartner says

By Michael Baumgartner | 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 transportation plan funds Belfair bypass, provides needed reforms, Sheldon says

By Tim Sheldon | Published on March 02, 2015
OLYMPIA… State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, said March 2 his vote in favor of a transportation package in the state Senate was not an easy choice, but a necessary one. “It was a tough decision,” he said. “But for our state to move forward we need improvements to our whole system – ferries, bridges, roads... Read More

Productive session so far for Energy, Environment and Telecommunications, says Chairman Ericksen

By Doug Ericksen | Published on February 27, 2015
OLYMPIA… As the state Legislature passes its first important deadlines, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, rates this as a productive session for his Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. “We’ve done plenty to protect our state’s low-cost energy, promote manufacturing and preserve jobs,” said Ericksen, chairman of the Senate energy panel. “Among other things, we have offered... Read More

TVW The Impact: ‘Is increasing state employee salaries the right priority?’

By John Braun | Published on February 26, 2015

Time to act on oil-train safety legislation, Ericksen says

By Doug Ericksen | Published on February 19, 2015
OLYMPIA… The case for oil-train safety legislation has been made all the stronger by derailments this week in Ontario and West Virginia, says state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, sponsor of a comprehensive oil-train bill in the Washington State Senate. “The derailments in Ontario and West Virginia ought to make it clear to everyone that the... Read More

Committee to put reform bills first when transportation-package discussion begins today

By Curtis King | Published on February 17, 2015
Today’s Senate Transportation Committee meeting will feature the start of public hearings on the proposed bipartisan transportation package announced this past week.   The eight bills slated for hearings today constitute the reform leg of the 11-bill package. “The residents of this state have spoken loud and clear that they want to see changes in the... Read More

‘Aiden’s Act’ scheduled for public hearing Tuesday

By Steve O'Ban | Published on February 16, 2015
Sen. Steve O’Ban’s effort to bring about swifter intervention in cases of suspected child abuse will come before the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee next week. Senate Bill 5888, known as “Aiden’s Act,” is scheduled for a public hearing at 10 a.m.Tuesday.  The bill is named for Aiden Barnum, a Port Orchard... Read More

Senate adopts Brown resolution on Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

By Sharon Brown | 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

Senate transportation leaders release 2015 bipartisan transportation package

By Curtis King | Published on February 12, 2015
Over two years of speculation ended today when Senate transportation leadership presented their bipartisan plan for a $15 billion statewide transportation revenue package. Transportation chair, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, Sens. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, Joe Fain, R-Auburn and Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood laid out the details of the package that would include $8 billion in new... Read More

College Affordability Program

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on February 12, 2015

MEDIA ADVISORY: Sens. Bailey and Braun announce major revamp to college tuition

By John Braun | Published on February 11, 2015
OLYMPIA… Students will join chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Sen. Barbara Bailey and Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. John Braun to unveil a new plan for higher education affordability in a news conference Thursday, Feb. 12.   Date:               Thursday, Feb. 12 at 12:45 p.m. Locations:      Senate Hearing Room 2, John A. Cherberg Bldg. Read More

Sheldon bill aims to reduce legal-defense costs for taxpayers

By Tim Sheldon | Published on February 06, 2015
OLYMPIA… A bill sponsored by state Sen. Tim Sheldon that reduces legal-defense costs for taxpayers cleared the Senate Law and Justice Committee Thursday, its first important hurdle. Senate Bill 5232 tackles one of the fastest-rising costs for county governments – the cost of providing legal defense to indigent defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. Legal... Read More

Baumgartner bills aim to reduce youth unemployment, increase future success for teens

By Michael Baumgartner | 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

By Joe Fain | 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

Ericksen releases Senate plan to promote new energy and reduce carbon emissions

By Doug Ericksen | Published on February 04, 2015
OLYMPIA… State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, outlined a comprehensive energy plan Feb. 4 that will be advanced through policy committees in the Washington Senate this year – a bold vision of new-energy promotion and innovation unleashed, aimed at creating and retaining jobs in Washington state while reducing carbon emissions. And one key point: No taxation... Read More

Sheldon bill gives motorcyclists right to ‘split lanes’

By Tim Sheldon | Published on February 02, 2015
OLYMPIA… A measure sponsored by state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, allowing motorcyclists to pass between cars in traffic jams got its first hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Senate Hearing Room 1. Senate Bill 5623 makes it legal for Washington motorcyclists to pass between cars when traffic is slow or at... Read More

Sen. Baumgartner targets cargo crunch at ports

By Michael Baumgartner | Published on January 28, 2015
OLYMPIA…  A memorial introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, seeks federal assistance in resolving a long-running labor dispute that appears to have slowed traffic at Pacific-coast ports and snarled international trade for Washington importers and exporters. Senate Joint Memorial 8009 asks the feds to help longshoremen and shippers reach agreement on a master... Read More

Bailey and Pearson introduce bills addressing local water-access issues

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on January 27, 2015
Two north Puget Sound lawmakers have introduced a package of bills aimed at improving public access to water. Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, and Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, introduced the legislation to address restrictive interpretations of instream-flow laws.  Restrictions on water flow have led to many people, especially those in the Skagit River Basin, being... Read More

Good news about employment not shared statewide, Baumgartner says

By Michael Baumgartner | Published on January 22, 2015
Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, issued the following statement following the announcement Jan. 22 by the state Employment Security Department that Washington employment has exceeded its pre-recession peak by nearly 100,000 jobs. “It’s great to hear that we have finally caught up to where we were before the... Read More

Panel hears support for trio of Brown bills to encourage job growth

By Sharon Brown | Published on January 21, 2015
Measures would expedite permitting and help create new manufacturing and construction jobs  Sen. Sharon Brown, chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, has made attracting and retaining employers in Washington and helping them create new jobs her top priority since coming to the Senate. Today, three of her bills aimed at encouraging economic... Read More

Pearson bill goes after illegal ‘skimming’ of personal information

By Kirk Pearson | Published on January 21, 2015
On Tuesday the Senate Law and Justice Committee held a public hearing on a measure sponsored by Sen. Kirk Pearson that would make it harder for identity thieves to use increasingly-sophisticated “skimming” technology to acquire access to victims’ personal financial information. “Identity theft is a horrible crime that can follow a victim for years,” said... Read More

Bailey reintroduces Silver Alert providing more public awareness for missing adults

By Barbara Bailey - Majority Whip | Published on January 21, 2015
Sen. Barbara Bailey reintroduced legislation that creates another alert system in Washington State, called the Silver Alert. Similar to the Amber Alert, this legislation aims to address increasing instances of missing, often elderly adults with mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Up to 60 percent of persons with a dementia-related disease will wander... Read More

Washington Lawmaker Seeks To Ban E-Cigarette Sales To Minors

By Judy Warnick | Published on January 20, 2015
By Ruby de Luna This week a state senate committee will hear a proposal that would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and vapes to minors. Last fall Sen. Judy Warnick got a tip from a police officer from her district in Moses Lake. He noted that students were buying e-cigarettes easily. “They were modifying... Read More

In The News: Lawmakers push for wider scope in disaster mobilization

By Kirk Pearson | Published on January 20, 2015
OLYMPIA — Fire officials this week are rekindling their effort to make sure a law that lets them mobilize resources to fight wildfires also applies to major emergencies such as the Oso mudslide. Public hearings are planned in the House and Senate on bills that would revise the state wildfire mobilization law to make clear... Read More

In the News: Lawmakers look for solutions as negotiations at port cripple economy

By Sharon Brown | Published on January 16, 2015
Puget Sound Business Journal Two Washington state senators are making a plan that would stop negotiations from causing traffic at ports to slow the next time a labor contract needs renewal. Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) and Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) want to provide recommendations soon. …Brown is chair of the legislature’s Trade and Economic Development... Read More

O’Ban introduces ‘Joel’s Law’ to empower families of mentally ill seeking treatment

By Steve O'Ban | Published on January 15, 2015
Public hearing set Monday Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, today introduced Senate Bill 5269, to be known as “Joel’s Law,” and has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for Monday. The bill is named for Joel Reuter, a severely mentally-ill man who was shot and killed by police in Seattle in July 2013. Numerous... Read More

Senate work session examines economic impact of slowdown at ports

By Sharon Brown | Published on January 14, 2015
A joint work session held this morning by the Senate Trade and Economic Development and Commerce and Labor committees took a detailed look at the reduction of trade volume at 28 West Coast ports that is crippling Washington’s agricultural community and other trade-dependent businesses. “Washington ports have been losing market share, and it is critical... Read More

Energy independence done safe and done right is focus for Senate energy panel, Ericksen says

By Doug Ericksen | Published on January 06, 2015
Energy independence done safe and done right will be the central theme for the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee this year, says Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale. “Low-cost energy is one of the best things this state has going for it,” said Ericksen, who is beginning his third year as the panel’s chair. “We need... Read More

O’Ban wants inquiry on why caseworker in horrific child abuse case was promoted

By Steve O'Ban | Published on December 30, 2014
KING 5 Story: Sen. O’Ban wants answers and change. As chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee, he sees systemic problems at DSHS where there is little accountability and plans legislative action. A child is completely disabled after a CPS worker failed to comply with basic protocol. That worker was recently... Read More

O’Ban critical of Inslee’s weak response to JBLM/I-5 traffic congestion

By Steve O'Ban | Published on December 18, 2014
Sen. Steve O’Ban, R- Pierce County, who has been working for years to alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is disappointed that JBLM traffic problems are largely ignored by Gov. Jay Inslee’s new transportation proposal. “I would like to have seen the governor prioritize his project list better. Of course every... Read More

Becker to continue work as chair of Senate Health Care Committee

By Randi Becker | Published on December 17, 2014
When the Legislature reconvenes in January, Sen. Randi Becker will once again be at the helm of the Senate Health Care Committee. Members of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus tapped Becker for another stint when they met Monday to determine who would lead the Senate committees for the next two years. “Without a doubt, my heart... Read More

Braun holds first Latino legislative forum in 20th District

By John Braun | Published on December 17, 2014
More than 50 members of the 20th Legislative District’s Latino community joined Sen. John Braun on Sunday afternoon in Chehalis for a discussion about priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 12. “I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said Braun, R-Centralia, who had invited members of the area’s faith community and leaders... Read More

O’Ban appointed chair of newly named human services, mental health and housing committee

By Steve O'Ban | Published on December 11, 2014
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced committee leadership for the 2015 legislative session. Sen. Steve O’Ban has been appointed to chair a renamed committee, the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee, formerly known as the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee. O’Ban will also represent the 28th Legislative District on the Senate Ways... Read More

Braun elected deputy leader of Senate majority

By John Braun | Published on December 08, 2014
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has elected Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, as Senate Majority Deputy Leader for the two-year legislative term that begins in 2015.  Braun was already a member of the MCC leadership team and is chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee. “We will have a tough job this coming legislative... Read More

Schoesler elected to lead Senate coalition as Majority Leader

By Mark Schoesler | Published on December 04, 2014
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus today elected Sen. Mark Schoesler as Senate Majority Leader for a two-year legislative term. “I’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for their vote of confidence and am eager to continue working on solutions for the people of Washington,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville, “It’s time to govern and roll up our sleeves... Read More

Angel Elected to Leadership Role in Senate

By Jan Angel | Published on December 02, 2014
OLYMPIA… The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced the election of Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, as Caucus Vice Chair after her first year in the Senate. Members of the Majority Coalition Caucus voted Angel into the leadership role as a key link between committee chairs and Senate leadership. “I’m excited to get to work building... Read More

Rivers receives 2014 Outstanding Legislator Award from WA Association of Sewer & Water Districts

By Ann Rivers | 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

IN THE NEWS: Public needs voice in carbon debate

By Ann Rivers | Published on August 04, 2014
Local View: Public needs voice in carbon debate By 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... Read More

Honeyford is first to receive new CWU alumni award

By Jim Honeyford | Published on May 15, 2014
In a ceremony May 1, Sen. Jim Honeyford received the first-ever College of the Sciences Alumni of the Year award for Social Sciences from Central Washington University. The award recognizes Honeyford’s ongoing passion and interest in CWU as well as his work as chair of the Senate capital budget to fund Science Phase II, a... Read More

Honeyford’s perfect record of support for small business continues

By Jim Honeyford | Published on May 15, 2014
Sen. Jim Honeyford has again earned the Guardian of Small Business Award by maintaining a perfect voting record during the 2013-14 biennium on issues that count for small businesses. He was one of 15 senators to receive a 100-percent score from the National Federation of Independent Business. “Communities across the 15th Legislative District depend on... Read More

WA tuition increases second highest in nation before Senate froze rates

By Joe Fain | Published on May 06, 2014
Sen. Joe Fain with students and faculty from Highline Community College. A new study released May 1 showed that students at Washington’s public colleges and universities faced the second highest tuition increase in the country following the economic recession in 2008. Despite the substantial cost shift to students and families, Sen. Joe Fain believes the... Read More

Foster youth support enhanced through proven program

By Joe Fain | Published on May 01, 2014
When foster youth turn 19 years old they often face a difficult transition into adulthood, which the state Legislature has tried to address in recent years through extended services. Sen. Joe Fain has worked to pass legislation since 2012 – most recently during the 2014 session – to extend foster care benefits to 19 to... Read More

Post session Olympia Report

By Jim Honeyford | Published on April 08, 2014
In my latest Olympia Report I discuss the Legislature finishing on time–without raising taxes, bills I had signed by the governor and the Capital Budget outlook. Click HERE to read more. Read More

Honeyford bill to protect state waters signed by governor

By Jim Honeyford | Published on April 03, 2014
Sunnyside Sen. Jim Honeyford’s work to keep state waterways from being infested by non-native mussels and other invasive species was validated when Senate Bill 6040 was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee during a ceremony Wednesday. By using an integrated-management approach supported by Honeyford’s legislation, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will be able to... Read More