Archive for January, 2013

Should helmets be optional for motorcycle riders over the age of 18?

By | January 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

Bikers packed a hearing room Thursday to testify on four bills that might mean changes for the two-wheeled motorists.

The biggest debate was over a new version of an old argument – to make helmets a requirement only for riders under 18. Twenty-six other states require all riders to wear helmets, 28 have moderated versions of the helmet law, and only 3 states have no law requiring helmets.

Donnie Lasman said that while helmet laws are supposed to actually reduce the number of deaths in accidents, it doesn’t seem to work that way.

“When we had the helmet law in Washington State repealed in 1977, for those years that we were helmet-free, our death-to-accident ratio, which means, how many accidents were there to how many deaths there were, was at 2.66 percent. Since the helmet law has been enacted, our death-to-accident ratio is up to 3.33 percent.”

One military veteran speaking in favor of the bill began his argument by quoting one of the founding fathers.

“Thomas Jefferson said ‘Laws provide against injury from others, but not from ourselves’,” said Richard Bright, a 26-year military veteran. “The crux of this issue is that the legislature is trying to protect us from our own behavior.”

But while the proponents had more numbers in attendance, the opposition had more statistics.

“Helmets decrease the severity of head injuries, the likelihood of death, and the overall cost of medical care.” said Dave Overstreet, representing AAA Washington. “Specifically, NTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37 percent among riders, and 41 percent for passengers.”

Steve Lind of the Traffic Safety Commission also opposed the bill. He said that in 2012, the Center for Disease Control reported that when states repeal all or portions of helmet laws, helmet use decreases, and injuries, fatalities and costs increase.

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Senate Republicans say delay on workers’ comp vote shows bipartisan spirit

By | January 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

Members of the Senate’s new Republican-controlled majority coalition say the delay of a floor vote on a package of controversial workers’ compensation bills is proof they are willing to listen to all sides of the debate.

On Wednesday, the coalition held off on the bills they say are aimed at controlling costs. One bill would give injured workers an incentive to take a lump sum settlement in lieu of traditional state pensions. Anther bill would alter the way an injured worker’s benefits are calculated, including the compensation a surviving spouse would receive.

Senate Democrats say the legislation would restructure the workers’ comp system and should not have been rushed through Senate’s Commerce and Labor Committee without proper consideration.

“We listened to the minority. They said they needed a little more time. We are trying to work with them in a bipartisan effort,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) said Wednesday.

Rep. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma) argued against the proposals in the Senate committee. The measures passed on a 4-3 vote along party lines.

“The worker comp system is designed to help injured workers get back on the job. But the Republicans’ changes only make it harder for middle class workers to regain their health and get back to work,” he said in a statement on the Senate Democrats website.

The five bills (SB5112, SB5124, SB5126, SB5127 and SB5128) are intended to give workers choices and employers more protection, Republican leaders say.

“We are looking to help contain worker compensation costs,” Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) said. “We are open to compromise to get the end result. This isn’t a political statement. We listened.”

Leaders of the Majority Coalition, which holds a 25-24 seat advantage in the Senate,  are hoping the additional time will be enough to convince some Democrats to support the legislation, improving its chances when it heads to the House.

Lawmakers are scheduled to re-convene on the Senate floor at 10 a.m. Friday, but it is unclear when the bills will get a vote.

Categories: Business, WA Senate

House GOP leaders ready for rules fight on Friday

By | January 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

House Republicans are expected to offer up a package of rule changes on Friday they say are needed to protect their right to affect legislation during the 2013 session.

It is unclear if the Democratic-controlled House will rally insupport of any of the amendments when lawmakers meet on the House floor at 10 a.m., but GOP leaders say they are ready to make their case.

The four rule change proposals include:

  • Prioritizing education funding through a stand-alone K-12 education budget.
  • Requiring two-thirds majority vote for tax increases, placing the provisions of Initiative 1185 into House rules.
  • Giving priority for people who travel to Olympia to testify in committee hearings before lobbyists and agency personnel.
  • Ensuring every House member who does not get a bill heard during session has the chance to pick one and receive a hearing.

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis) said voters who passed Tim Eyman‘s initiative requiring a two-thirds vote to increase taxes should have protection.

“We do believe there is a chance the courts might throw out the two-thirds, so we thought it would be good to honor the will of the people by putting this in the House rules,” he said.

Democrats hold a 55-43 seat advantage in the House and have control over key committees, which is a source of frustration for the minority.

“It’s difficult to get a vote on the House floor for things we think are important,” said Rep. J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm). “They represent about 137,000 people and those people deserve a vote”

TVW will have live web streaming of the House floor debate at 10 a.m.

Categories: WA House

Committee hears both sides of abortion insurance debate

By | January 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

A crowd on both sides of the abortion debate packed a hearing this morning on the proposed Reproductive Parity Act, a law that would require health insurance plans providing maternity care also provide abortion services.

Members of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee are considering House Bill 1044, which would maintain insurance coverage for women seeking to terminate pregnancies after the federal Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.

Currently health insurance policies in the state typically cover abortions, although they are not required by law. The proposal would make Washington the only state in the country to require insurance companies to cover abortion.

Judy Kimelman, a doctor representing the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the committee that women should be able to make their own health choices.

“It would ensure a woman can make health decision that are best for her, rather than based on the insurance coverage she has,” Kimelman said.

Peggy O’Ban, a spokeswoman for Human Life of Washington, told lawmakers the act limits an employer’s freedom of choice.

“To force a human being to take a human life is a violation of our First Amendment right to conscience,” she said. “Washington state would be the only state in the country that would force employers to pay for abortion.”

Gov. Jay Inslee voiced support for the law during his inaugural speech earlier this month.

“Washington women need the freedom and privacy to make the health care decisions that are best for themselves and their families. That’s why I look forward to the Legislature sending the Reproductive Parity Act to my desk, which I will sign,” Inslee said.

On Wednesday, new Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) said the coalition will not let social issues to disrupt the focus on jobs and education.

The committee did not take action on the bill Thursday.

 

Categories: Healthcare

Hunters would have to be at least 8 years old under proposed legislation

By | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

The House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee discussed possible age restrictions for hunters on Wednesday morning.

Requested by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the bill would put minimum age limits on two groups of hunters: those interested in signing up for hunter education courses would have to be at least 8 years old and unaccompanied minors would have to be at least 14 to hunt on their own.

Bruce Bjork, chief of enforcement for the department, said that students as young as five are regularly enrolled in the safety courses.

“When they’re that young, they often have difficulty comprehending the course material, taking the hunter education exam, handling a firearm,” Bjork said.

The education courses are required to obtain a state hunting license. Students are required to pass a written test and demonstrate firearm handling skills during the course, which is at least 10 hours long and involves multiple sessions. Classes are limited to about a dozen students.

“This year, I think we had our youngest student register for the class at six months of age,” said Sgt. Carl Klein, who manages the department’s education division.  “We do see incidences of that, where they take up seats from students who are willing to participate in the class and successfully complete the class.”

Tom Echols represents the Hunters Heritage Council, a coalition of hunting chapters from around the state. He said his organization is opposed to any kind of age restriction for hunters.

“We feel that it’s a barrier to the activity,” Echols said. “And we believe that it should be the policy of the state to encourage hunting and not discourage it.”

The bill would also reinstate a 1994 law that requires hunters to be at least 14 years old to hunt alone. The proposed bill would not bar minors from hunting on private or controlled property.

The bill would also allow the department to issue fees associated with the hunter education courses to mitigate the cost of instruction. It would cost $20 for the hunting course, and $10 to reissue a hunting permit if it is lost.

The committee took no action on the bill.

Categories: Environment
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New license plates: Seahawks, Sounders and wolves, oh my!

By | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

Drivers in Washington may soon be able to proudly show off their allegiance to the Seahawks, Sounders and the gray wolf.

Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to create specialty license plates for the two Seattle sports teams and wolves.

All three plates would cost $40 initially and $30 for a renewal. Additional funds collected from the Seahawks and Sounders plates would go to three organizations – Washington State Mentors, InvestED and the Association of Washington Generals.

The extra revenue collected from the sale of the wolf plates would go to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s preventative wolf management efforts.

The state currently issues dozens of specialty plates for hobbies, universities and other interests.

The only specialty plate the state has retired is one honoring square dancers.

Categories: Uncategorized

Debate over wolves, safety at mental health hospitals and ballot drop boxes

By | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday’s “Legislative Review,” we recap a handful of bills related to wolves. The bills would give ranchers and county officials more power to kill wolves that attack livestock.

We also cover testimony about a bill that aims to make state mental health hospitals safer for workers. Several employees testified that they are assaulted by patients at the state hospitals on a daily basis. Plus, should there be more ballot drop boxes on college campuses?

Senate committee hears testimony on wolf bills

By | January 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The debate over gray wolf management in Washington landed in the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee on Tuesday as lawmakers heard testimony on a pair of bills that would give ranchers and county officials more power to kill wolves that attack livestock.

The bills come just months after the state Department of Fish and Wildlife killed off a pack in the northeastern part of the state because of livestock attacks.

Senate Bill 5187 would allow livestock owners, their family and employees to kill “mammalian predators” without permission if their livestock is attacked.

Under Senate Bill 5188, county law enforcement officials would be permitted to kill wolves that pose an imminent threat to livestock if certain conditions are met – two attacks on livestock by a wolf pack or if a pattern of attacks threatens a livestock operation.

The sponsor of both bills, Sen. John Smith (R-Colville), told the committee livestock owners should have the right to protect their animals.

“We are looking to defend our God-given right to defend our property,” Smith said. “The intention is not to declare open season on wolves.”

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Categories: Environment

Bill would create sub-minimum ‘training wage’

By | January 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would create a new “training wage” lower than the state minimum wage for employers with less than 50 workers.

House Bill 1150 would allow some employers to pay 10 percent of their employees a wage set at 75 percent of the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. It would apply to the employee’s first 680 hours. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cary Condotta (R-East Wenatchee), told the House Committee on Labor and Workforce the program would help get teens back into the workforce and off the street.

“I believe it is reasonable. I want a solution to this problem because it has gotten very serious,” Condotta said.

Grant County Prosecuting Attorney Angus Lee agreed, telling committee members the program would help solve the gang problems he sees everyday in his community.

“It benefits people who need a chance,” he said. “I look at it as somebody who cares about my community. This is a bill about saving lives.”

Opponents of the bill say the law would hurt working families who depend on the state’s minimum wage to get by.

“These working families are barely hanging on. I’ve heard of training wheels and training pants but I’ve never heard of a training wage,” said Pamela Crone, a lobbyist with Legal Voice.

Teresa Mosqueda with the Washington State Labor Council called the proposal a “poverty creation bill.”

“This is about all workers and this is taking money off the kitchen table,” she said.

Erin Shannon with the Washington Policy Center told lawmakers the state has one of the highest teen unemployment rates in the country at 28 percent. Shannon said employers need an economic incentive to take a gamble on young workers.

Those feelings were echoed by Pam Pellegrino, owner of Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen in Olympia.

“When we go to hire to fill a position, at this point we don’t look for teenagers. We can’t invest the time at the minimum wage to train them,” she said.

The committee took no action on the bill Tuesday.

Categories: economy

Inslee names three more to Cabinet

By | January 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Three more members of Governor Jay Inslee’s new cabinet team were introduced on Tuesday.

Inslee selected his former chief of staff Brian Bonlender to head up the Department of Commerce. Bonlender ran Inslee’s office and acted as his primary advisor on economic issues during his time in Congress. He recently served as the director of Inslee’s transition team.

Dorothy Frost Teeter was tabbed to run the state’s Health Care Authority, which oversees health care services for state employees and low-income residents.

She will be expected to oversee the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Frost Teeter is currently a senior advisor at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in Maryland and was Chief of Health Operations of Seattle & King County Public Health.

“Dorothy brings an outstanding record of innovation and quality improvement that is exactly what we need. I’m looking forward to working with her to reform our system so success is measured by quality instead of quantity,” Inslee said in a news release.

Brigadier General Bret D. Daugherty is will continue as Adjutant General of the Washington Military Department. He serves as commander of Washington’s Army and National Guard forces and oversees the state’s Emergency Management and Enhanced 911 programs.

Prior to his inauguration, Inslee named five other new members of his cabinet.

 

Categories: Governors Office

Debate over family leave act, adoption records and juvenile sentences

By | January 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Monday’s “Legislative Review,” we recap debate over a proposal to repeal the state’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act. The program gives parents five week of paid time off to be with a new baby. It was created six years ago, but never funded — and some lawmakers say it’s time to take it off the books.

Plus, we cover a hearing about a bill that would allow all adoptees access to their birth certificates. Currently, only people who were adopted after 1993 can access their birth certificate, unless the birth parent has filed an affidavit of nondisclosure with the state. We also look at a hearing from last Friday about changing the mandatory minimum sentences for juveniles who commit murder before 18.

Bill would repeal state’s Family Leave Act

By | January 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

Opponents of a bill that would repeal Washington’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act told lawmakers the state has a moral responsibility to keep the law on the books during a Senate Commerce and Labor Committee hearing Monday.

The 2007 act, which gives new parents paid leave of up to $250 a week for five weeks, has yet to be implemented due to lack of funding associated with the state’s economic downturn in recent years.

“It should never be a matter a luck that a parent can take time with their new child,” said Marilyn Watkins with the Economic Opportunity Institute. “We, as a state, have no greater moral responsibility than to move forward and fund this program.”

Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia), who is sponsoring Senate Bill 5159, argued that the current law is a liability and will never be funded.

“We should stop fooling around with something we don’t ever plan to properly fund and take it off the books,” Braun said.

The legislature delayed funding the program twice – in 2009 and 2011 – and former Gov. Chris Gregoire did not include it in her final budget before leaving office.

The bill  has wide support in the new Senate Majority Coalition, including its two Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) and Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlach).

Meanwhile, Sen. Karen Keiser (D- Kent) has introduced her own bill which would fund an expanded version of the original act.

Keiser’s proposal would extend the leave time to 12 weeks and pay two-thirds of a worker’s pay, up to $1,000 a week. It would be funded through a .01 percent payroll tax on employees and employers. The program would start paying benefits in 2015.

“At a time when middle-class working families are struggling, it makes no sense to cut this benefit,” Keiser said.

Keiser’s proposal is similar to legislation passed in California and New Jersey.

Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of the  Federal Family Medical Leave Act, which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave.

The committee took no action on the bill Monday.

Categories: economy, Public Policy

Legislation would stiffen sentences for juveniles caught with guns

By | January 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

Juveniles who are convicted of illegal gun possession would face stiffer sentencing guidelines under a proposed bill considered in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

House Bill 1096 would send juveniles convicted of a second offense to one of the state’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration facilities for 15 to 36 weeks.

Under current law, it takes five illegal gun-possession convictions before a juvenile can be sent to a JRA facility.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw), would also limit the ability of judges to defer a mandatory 10-day detention for first-time offenders.

King County Prosecuting attorney Dan Satterburg told committee members the current policy isn’t doing anybody any favors.

“I think doing nothing is the wrong move and that’s what we have been doing,” he said. “The earlier we can intervene the better off we all are.”

Satterburg said the 15 weeks in a JRA facility is an opportunity to educate young offenders.

Shankar Narayan with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington disagreed, telling the committee state resources would be better spent in other programs because evidence doesn’t suggest that increased detention deters juvenile offenders.

“In this case we may be pushing reachable kids into incarceration. We need to look at this at as a whole problem, not just a piece,” he said.

The bill has a projected price tag of $1 million to $3 million per year.

The committee did not take a vote on the measure.

Categories: Courts

Marijuana tracking, gun control and liquor laws on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Thursday’s “Legislative Review,” we recap debate over a bill in the House Judiciary Committee that would impose stricter penalties on juveniles caught with guns. Plus, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference Thursday he wants to “digitally track” marijuana to ensure it doesn’t leak over the border to other states, or land in criminal hands. We also recap interesting testimony about a bill that would change the state’s resale liquor law.

Categories: Marijuana

Distributors, small business owners divided over liquor bill

By | January 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The players in the state’s liquor business – both big and small – were in Olympia on Thursday to begin a debate about proposed changes to the liquor privatization law.

House Bill 1161 would lift a 17 percent fee retailers are required to pay on gross hard liquor sales. Distributors aren’t required to pay the tax.

Business owners who took over old state liquor stores last June say the state started taxing them out of business when the new fees were imposed.

“We are left in a market where we cannot compete with distributors who have stolen all of our business,” said Julie Granas, a liquor store owner from Leavenworth.

Restaurant owners argue the system limits their buying options, increasing operating and consumer costs.

“When I make my fresh meatballs every week, I can buy tomatoes from whoever gives me the best price and the best tomatoes,” said Monique Trudnowski, owner of  Adriadic resturaunt in Tacoma. ”That’s why I’m still in business after five years.  If I don’t have that same opportunity with my liquor and spirits, I anticipate I may close.”

Distributors say they invested heavily in their businesses after voters passed Initiative 1183 and their profits would suffer under the proposed bill.

“Our concern with this bill is the fact that these distributors… have paid huge sums of money in order to be distributors in this state,” said Michael Gonzales, a representative for the wine and spirits industry in King and Pierce Counties. ”This bill looks like it would also allow Costco to be a distributor, but not be on the same playing field, not paying the same fees in order to distribute to bars and restaurants.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina), said the legislation made practical sense and was surprised at the overflow crowd at the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee hearing.

“It’s a relatively simple bill. We are trying to have a fair application of taxes. The consistency is the issue, not the amount of tax,” Hunter said.

The bill would also ease restrictions on the number of transactions and amount of liquor that can be purchased.

 

Categories: tax

Q&A with Liquor Control Board chair Sharon Foster

By | January 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

Liquor Control Board chair Sharon Foster

Liquor Control Board chair Sharon Foster is at the center of the storm when it comes to implementation of Initiative 502, the state’s new law legalizing the sale and production of recreational marijuana.

Foster, along with board members Ruthann Kuros and Chris Marr, will make the final call on rules and regulations surrounding the new law.

An overflow crowd packed the first public forum on the rules process Tuesday in Olympia (listen to audio from the meeting). Another forum is scheduled for tonight in Seattle.

TVW caught up with Foster on this week to discuss the implementation process:

What exactly is the board’s role in shaping the state’s new rules concerning I-502?
We try to go to as many meetings and open forums and listen to everybody, but ultimately it is the three-member board that will make every single decision on what goes forward.

There was an overflow crowd at your first public meeting  yesterday. What kind of questions and concerns did you hear?
I think there was definitely a concern about the medical marijuana industry and how I-502 will impact that. There will be bills in the legislature this year dealing with medical marijuana. We are not in charge of medical marijuana so we are in a watch mode. There were lots of folks interested in small growers vs. large growers and there were a lot of questions about the banking industry – things we don’t have answers to right now.

These are historic times when it comes to marijuana legalization and Washington will be leading the way. How much pressure is there on the board to get this done right and on time?
I think there is an incredible amount of pressure to do it right. It has never been done anywhere in the world before to the extent that we are doing it. I think if we want any sort of approvals going forward from the federal government, we are going to have to do it with good regulations and controls. Safety has always been paramount in our mission as is having the retail market competitive enough so people don’t go to the black market.

Looking a few years down the road, what does Washington’s cannabis marketplace look like?
I see it looking a lot like how our liquor control board used to look like other than the stores will be owned and operated privately. There won’t be any state employees running those stores. The density problem is something we don’t know yet – what the density is going to be, what the consumption rate is going to be. Anything I would say would be so speculative it would silly to try to answer that. Every time we talked about how much marijuana needs to be out in that open legalized retail market we had people in the audience saying we should take that number and double it. We don’t know whether that’s true or not. That’s one of things we hope to learn when we hire someone who is more of an expert than any of us here combined and that can help us define the best way to grow, what the consumption rate might look like. We are going to depend a lot on that person or that person’s team to help guide us.

(more…)

Categories: initiatives, Marijuana

State of the Judiciary, Senate debate over rules and workers’ comp bills

By | January 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Wednesday’s “Legislative Review,” we’ve got highlights from the speech by Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen about the state of the courts. We also have highlights from a debate on the Senate floor about who will control the Facilities and Operations Committee, which is currently investigating how documents detailing complaints of verbal abuse brought against Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) were leaked to the Associated Press. Plus, a first look at a package of workers compensation reform bills sponsored by Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry (R-Moses Lake).

Categories: Courts, WA Senate

Top court priorities outlined in judiciary address

By | January 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen

Safer courts, reliable access to lawyers and the need for more language interpreters were among the top court priorities outlined by Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen during the State of the Judiciary Address before a joint session of the legislature on Wednesday.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone who is predicting that you’re going to have an easy session this year. I think you’re all going to be spending many long days and late nights in Olympia,” Madsen told lawmakers assembled in the Senate Chamber.

One the court system’s top challenges will be security in the wake of various bomb threats at courthouses around the state and a recent shooting and stabbing in Grays Harbor County.

“No one should be afraid to walk into a courthouse. Simply hoping nothing bad happens is no longer good enough,” she said.

Madsen also asked the legislature to fund a pilot program that would implement video remote language interpreting services. The need for interrupters is exploding around the state, she said.

“Just imagine walking into a high stakes situation and not understanding a word of what’s going on.”

Madsen also told lawmakers the court system is struggling to serve the state’s low-income population, especially in rural areas.

“We have learned that in areas of our state the promise of access to effective assistance of counsel guaranteed by our constitution and our legislature has not been met,” she said.

Categories: Courts

GOP coalition, Democrats tussle over committee leadership in Senate

By | January 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Tensions between the new Republican-controlled coalition and their Democratic counterparts in the Senate boiled over again Wednesday after Democrats proposed restructuring the chamber’s Facilities and Operations Committee. The proposal would have put three members of each party on the committee, with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen serving as the non-voting chair.

The committee is charged with administrative tasks, and is currently handling an investigation on how documents detailing complaints of verbal abuse brought against Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) were leaked to the Associated Press.

Members of the majority coalition blocked the measure on a 25-24 vote.

Democratic Minority Leader Ed Murray (D-Seattle) said the committee should be focused on the safety of employees, not the leak. He said the investigation has had a “chilling effect on employees who want to bring complaints.”

Sanctions against Roach stemming from allegations she had mistreated staff in 2010 were lifted last week and she is seen as a key vote in the new majority coalition.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) has said he will lead the leak investigation himself. The report from the Associated Press concluded Roach violated Senate policy last March by verbally attacking a staffer.

Sen. Karen Fraser (D-Olympia) who serves on the Facilities and Operations Committee, said the Senate deserves better leadership.

“We need to find a way for this committee to function the way it has in the past,” she said.

The impromptu debate on the Senate floor came minutes before Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen was set to deliver the 2013 State of the Judiciary Address.

Categories: WA Senate

Senators Mike Padden, Adam Kline debate parental notification bill on ‘The Impact’

By | January 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Anita Kissee, host of TVW’s The Impact, interviewed Senators Adam Kline (D – Seattle) and Mike Padden (R – Spokane Valley) Wednesdsay about their views on abortion, gun control and specialty courts. Padden is the chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, and Kline is the ranking Democrat.

“If you’ve got a daughter who’s at school and she’s got a headache, you have to have on file permission from the parent to give her an aspirin,” said Padden, in reference to Senate Bill 5156, a bill that would ban doctors from performing abortions on minors without first notifying the parents.

Eighteen members of the new Senate Majority Coalition have signed on to the controversial parental notification bill. It comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s voiced support for the Reproductive Parity Act during his inaugural address last week, which would require insurance companies to cover abortions if they also cover live births.

“We are not talking here about a child getting an aspirin from a school nurse.  This is something based much more on family dynamics than having a headache,” said Kline in response.

The two discussed the pros and cons of that bill, along with possible upcoming legislation regarding guns, and the possibility of creating specialty DUI courts on college campuses.  For more on these and other issues, tune in to The Impact on Wednesday evening at 7 & 10 p.m.

Categories: TVW