News

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

Senate Majority Coalition Caucus elects 2017 senior leadership

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on November 15, 2016
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus today elected senior leaders for the caucus and the Washington state Senate. The MCC filled its top leadership spots with senior senators. Leadership positions carry a 2-year term and new leaders begin their duties immediately. “We’re anxious to start the 2017 legislative session. We have some big issues to tackle,... 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

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

Schoesler: Governor’s highway changes nowhere near enough

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on February 17, 2016
Senate leader says proposed changes to I-405 are ‘a small fix for a huge problem’ OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee regarding changes to traffic management on Interstate 405. The unpopular imposition of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-405 was one of... 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

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

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

Senate majority makes college more affordable with historic tuition cuts

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on July 27, 2015
Senate Majority leader Mark Schoesler recaps the news coverage of an historic session: ‘Historic’ tuition cut sets state apart from rest of U.S. Seattle Times, June 13, 2015 Washington’s move isn’t well-known elsewhere in the country, but some say it could spur other states to think about cuts. “I don’t know how widely known this proposal... Read More

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

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

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

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

2015: Best year for students and teachers in decades

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on June 17, 2015
Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee answers the question, “What have lawmakers done for students this year?” Senate education budget facts: Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history. 47 percent of the budget dedicated to K-12 education — a share not seen since 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

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

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

Burned, beaten and locked away: State fails disabled woman

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 28, 2015

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

Schoesler calls for May 15 finish to special session

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 27, 2015
OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler today repeated the call to lawmakers in Olympia to end their special session by May 15. Washington lawmakers are scheduled to begin an overtime session Wednesday, but it could run 30 days – or even longer. Schoesler added that lawmakers should see a mid-May deadline for school districts to plan... Read More

Senate delivers ‘clean sweep’ on budget, transportation and tuition cuts

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 24, 2015
Majority leader: ‘Special session needs to end by May 15’ OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, today marked the end of the Legislature’s regular session with a long list of major legislation passed by the Senate including a no-new-taxes budget, bipartisan transportation package, college-tuition cuts, public-safety measures, addressed critical mental health issues and a... 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

School Superintendents speak out on finishing the state budget on time

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 21, 2015
“School districts depend so much on the Legislature to complete their work on time so that we can complete our work.  Whether it’s hiring teachers to reduce class size, adding more sections of full-day kindergarten, or purchasing busses, until the Legislature approves a budget, we are unable to move forward with our planning and decision-making. ... Read More

Majority Leader: ‘Troy Kelley has damaged public trust – time to resign’

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 16, 2015
OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement in reaction to the federal indictment of state Auditor Troy Kelley. “The damage has been done and it’s time for Troy Kelley to resign immediately. There is nothing he can do to restore public trust given his evasion and silence on these serious allegations. We have... 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

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

Senate and House leaders meet to discuss budget negotiations

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 10, 2015
OLYMPIA…As the 2015 legislative session nears the end of its 105 day limit, Senate Majority Coalition budget negotiators are reaching across the aisle and Rotunda to end on time and on budget. The Senate has passed a complete budget. The House has passed a $39 billion spending plan. This is an important difference between the... Read More

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

Watch KING 5: Students praise Senate tuition cuts as debt relief

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 08, 2015

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 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

Majority Leader: We have the votes to pass a no-new-taxes budget

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 06, 2015
OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement in advance of passage of a 2015-17 operating budget by members of the state Senate: “We have the votes to pass a no-new-taxes budget that fully funds K-12 education and offers college students and their families the first tuition cut in at least a generation. “It’s... Read More

Former MCC Majority Leader Tom honored

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on April 01, 2015
Today the Majority Coalition Caucus unveiled the official Majority Leader portrait in a ceremony to honor the leadership of former Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue. Current MCC Majority Leader Mark Schoesler had this to say: “It seems like just yesterday Senator Tom and I put aside our past differences to bring the Majority Coalition Caucus together to... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We said we would deliver and we did

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on March 02, 2015
Statement from Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on passage of the Senate transportation package. “We said we would deliver and we did. Today’s bipartisan vote on a statewide transportation package creates 200,000 jobs, gets our economy moving, fixes our crumbling highways and provides more accountability in the way we manage our transportation dollars. That’s a... 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

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

The SMART Act: Measuring outputs, not just inputs

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on February 24, 2015
Much of the public discussion and advocacy surrounding the budget writing process often tends to focus on inputs, or the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on a particular program. The Legislature has an equally important duty to study the outputs, or the actual results of the way they spend taxpayer dollars. Accountability and transparency are... Read More

Senate continues to offer better solutions and ideas to move Washington forward

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on February 24, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on the cutoff for Senate committees to vote out policy bills: “We continue to offer better solutions and ideas to move Washington forward. The cutoff for policy bills shows that we’re serious about job growth, funding education as a first priority, and making sure the state lives within its... Read More

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

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

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

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

Sheldon joins Senate Rules Committee as membership is finalized

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on January 27, 2015
OLYMPIA… State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, will return to the Senate Rules Committee as part of a deal that finalizes the membership of the quiet-but-powerful panel. Membership of the committee will expand by three, two positions going to Democrats, Sheldon and Andy Billig of Spokane. Also joining the committee is state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.... 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

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

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

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

State Senate majority creates new government accountability committee

By Majority Coalition Caucus | Published on December 09, 2014
Announces committee leadership for 2015 legislative session The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus announced today Senate committee leadership for the 2015 legislative session including the addition of a new committee that will focus on government accountability and reform issues. Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said, “The committee leadership reflects the exceptional talent in this caucus who... 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

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

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