uncategorized

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

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

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

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

Sexual assault victims better protected under plan passed by Senate

By Steve Litzow | Published on February 03, 2016
Victims of sexual assault seeking protection orders would get increased protections under legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow, passed today by the Washington State Senate. The proposal would allow courts to set longer terms instead of the current maximum of two years and reduces burdens to continue existing orders. “This legislation is a huge step... 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

Following historic session for early learning, Early Start Act signed into law

By Steve Litzow | Published on July 06, 2015
More Washington children will begin kindergarten prepared to succeed following passage of the Early Start Act, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow. The landmark bipartisan legislation, which was signed into law by the governor today, will provide parents with access to high quality early learning programs. It sets quality standards for early learning and provides support... Read More

Early Start Act passes Legislature

By Steve Litzow | Published on July 02, 2015
Tuesday the legislature passed landmark legislation to get children to school ready to succeed. The Early Start Act, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi and Sen. Steve Litzow sets quality standards for early learning, and provides support to early learning educators in child care and pre-school settings across the state. “High quality early learning is a proven... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislature must get done on time for students

By Steve Litzow | Published on April 16, 2015
With the 2015 legislative session scheduled to end April 26, Sen. Steve Litzow urged lawmakers to complete their work on time to allow students, teachers and local school districts to utilize a significant investment in public education in the final state budget. “Washington state’s most important responsibility is to provide every child with a quality education,” said... 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

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

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 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

High quality early learning helps all Washington students

By Steve Litzow | Published on March 10, 2015
Children would begin kindergarten better prepared for success under the Early Start Act from Sen. Steve Litzow, which provides parents with access to high quality early learning programs. The bipartisan bill, which has the support of education and children’s advocates, passed the state Senate Tuesday evening. “Research shows that children who receive high quality early... 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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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