On this special one-hour edition of “Legislative Year in Review,” we recap the highlights from the 2014 session — from opening day to Sine Die. The show includes debate over issues such as the Dream Act, minimum wage, gun control, abortion insurance bill, death penalty, mental health, teacher evaluations, taxing e-cigarettes and the supplemental budget. Plus, a quick wrap-up of several of the bills that passed this year. Watch the show below:
Archive for Republicans
Washington’s legislative leaders will adjourn the 2014 session Thursday, unless a special session extends the deadline. But before they go back to their districts TVW will air back-to-back live interviews with more than 20 lawmakers starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Anita Kissée, host of The Impact, will sit down with Gov. Jay Inslee, House Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan and House Republican leader Rep. Dan Kristiansen.
Other guests include Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island. The lawmakers will talk about a range of issues from education to the capital budget to the environment.
Plus, Austin Jenkins, host of TVW’s “Inside Olympia” and reporter for the Public Radio Northwest News Network, and Brian Rosenthal, a state government reporter for The Seattle Times, will stop by to talk about some highlights from the past 60 days and what to expect when the election process begins.
Coverage will be here on the blog, and you can watch live on TVW or via webcast.
TVW will be live starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday with interviews from the Capitol rotunda for a special mid-session edition of The Impact with host Anita Kissée. Tuesday marks a key deadline in the 2014 legislative session as lawmakers rush to meet a 5 p.m. cutoff to move bills out of the chamber of origin.
Tune in to watch interviews with Gov. Jay Inslee, Senate leaders Rodney Tom and Christine Rolfes and House leaders Pat Sullivan and Dan Kristiansen. Plus, transportation leaders will stop by to talk about the latest progress on a transportation package.
The show will also include interviews with Sen. Ann Rivers and Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, and Rep. Laurie Jinkins and Rep. Monica Stonier of the House Democratic Caucus.
We’ll also cover a range of issues, including the death penalty with Rep. Jay Rodne and Rep. Reuven Carlyle, education with Rep. Ross Hunter and Rep. Bruce Chandler, labor with Rep. Matt Manweller and Rep. Mike Sells, and higher education with Sen. Barbara Bailey and Rep. Larry Seaquist.
Watch live on TVW or via webcast.
On Tuesday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” we have highlights from Gov. Jay Inslee‘s first state of the state address. He called for a higher minimum wage, more education funding and a cost-of-living adjustment for teachers, along with the passage of a transportation package and climate change legislation.
We also have details from the Republican “perspective” delivered after Inslee’s address. Republican leaders also called a news conference in which they criticized Inslee’s speech for not having enough specifics. In the third segment of the show, lawmakers consider a bill that would reduce the penalty for possession of a controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Republicans criticized Gov. Jay Inslee‘s State of the State address, saying that while it was big on new ideas, there were few specifics about where the state will get the money to pay for it.
Inslee called for more education funding and a higher minimum wage in his speech Tuesday, along with action on transportation and climate change.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said Inslee was “very short on details” on how to fund education to comply with the McCleary ruling and how he plans to achieve his goals with climate change.
“He left a lot of vagueness out there in those areas,” Schoesler said.
Schoesler spoke at a press conference held by House Republicans and members of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, including Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, following the governor’s remarks.
“There are no proposals to pay for anything,” Schoesler said. “It’s just I want to spend, I want to spend, and that’s all there is.”
House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen said the governor’s proposals would hurt middle class families. “It’s great to talk pie in the sky about all these great ideas, at the end of the day it’s got to be paid for,” Kristiansen said.
Tom and the Republicans say the governor’s proposal to raise the minimum wage by $1.50 to $2.50 an hour would hurt the economy and jobs. The state’s current minimum wage is $9.32 an hour, the highest in the nation.
Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver the 2014 State of the State Address at noon today before a joint session of the House and Senate. TVW will air the governor’s remarks live.
Immediately following the governor’s speech, TVW will be live with the Republican perspective delivered by Sen. Randi Becker (R- Eatonville). Senators from the Majority Coalition Caucus and Republicans in the House of Representatives also will discuss their top priorities for the upcoming 60-day legislative session at a press conference.
There’s also plenty of legislative coverage online today.
Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina) and Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) will discuss the Early Start Act of 2014, which aims to increase the number of early learning programs in the state. TVW will tape the press conference and air it later.
You can see what TVW is covering by checking out the schedule online.
Washington’s legislative leaders are jumping into a new session Monday and TVW will air exclusive interviews with many lawmakers before they take their seats. You can watch it on TV or our live stream on the web.
Anita Kissée, host of The Impact, will be reporting live from the Capitol from 10 a.m. to noon. Opening ceremonies begin at noon, and we’ll be back with more live interviews from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m.
We’ll start the show off at 10 a.m. with an interview with Gov. Jay Inslee, which will replay at 11:45 a.m. and 1:20 p.m.
Other guests include Senators Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, Sharon Nelson, D- Maury Island, Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, and Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale. We’ll also be interviewing Representatives Ross Hunter, D-Medina, Pat Sullivan, D- Covington, Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, and Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda.
State capital reporter for The News Tribune Jordan Schrader and AP correspondent Rachel La Corte will stop by the set to discuss the key issues they anticipate will be high on the legislative agenda.
Coverage will be here on the blog, and Legislative Review will air a rundown of the events at 6:30 p.m. on TVW. The show airs every night during the session, providing a 15-minute recap of the day’s legislative highlights.
Legislative leaders from the four corners discussed the upcoming session at the AP Legislative Preview forum Thursday, with some suggesting that a supplemental operating budget may not be necessary this year.
The Legislature writes a biennial budget in odd-numbered years, and a supplemental budget in even-numbered years. In 2013, lawmakers adopted a $33.6 billion, two-year operating budget. During the recession, lawmakers had to make significant adjustments to supplemental budgets, but revenue is expected to stay flat or slightly increase in 2014.
“You could operate without a supplemental budget. There are sufficient funds,” said Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler. “We have to be very careful that we don’t create a bow wave that would go over our four-year balanced budget requirement.”
Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson and House Speaker Frank Chopp disagreed, saying there are investments that could be made this year in areas like K-12 education and mental health.
Chopp said Washington has one of the worst records in the nation for available psychiatric beds. As a result, mentally ill patients are being boarded in beds in the hallways of emergency rooms.
“That’s not right. We should do something about that,” said Chopp. “Luckily the investment we’re talking about would be fairly modest in the supplemental, but I think we need to look at that.”
Nelson said the Legislature should also see if there’s additional progress that can be made in funding K-12 education to meet McCleary requirements.
If the Legislature does adopt a supplemental budget, Schoesler said it must be “gimmick free.” He said he also wants to avoid making “random acts of kindness in K-12″ that he says won’t make a difference in the long-term.
“My concern every year when we go into supplemental budgets is that we don’t start adding to our expenditures,” said House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish.
The panel also discussed issues such as pension reform, climate change, workers’ compensation, medical marijuana and transportation. Watch the full video below.
Former KIRO TV anchor Susan Hutchison is replacing Kirby Wilbur as the chair of the Washington State Republican Party.
Wilbur resigned last month to take a job with the Young America’s Foundation in Washington D.C.
The state GOP party announced the news on its Facebook page on Saturday following a runoff vote between Hutchison and Luanne Van Werven, who has been serving as the interim chair.
The Seattle Times has a more details about Saturday’s election.
Hutchison ran for King County Executive in 2009 but was defeated by Dow Constantine.
Kristiansen replaces Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis), who stepped down due to health concerns on April 17. The announcement was made over the weekend as lawmakers finished up the 105-day regular session. A special session is slated to begin May 13.
The vote was unanimous for the 50-year-old real estate businessman who has been serving in the Legislature since 2003.
“I appreciate the confidence my colleagues have shown in me, but this isn’t about me. This is about a group of 43 Republican lawmakers who are dedicated to creating jobs, improving our education system and protecting hard-working taxpayers,” Kristiansen said in a news release. “It’s a unique time to come in as leader, but we are all united and will continue to advocate for solutions to get Washington working.”
Rep. Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda) was retained deputy leader. Here’s the rest of the leadership team:
- Caucus chair: Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake (replaces Rep. Dan Kristiansen)
- Vice-caucus chair: Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy
- Floor leader: Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm
- Assistant floor leader: Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley
- Assistant floor leader: Rep. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County(replaces Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who chose not to run for the position again)
- Whip: Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver
- Assistant whip: Rep. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney
- Assistant whip: Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union
- Assistant whip: Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe
Senate and House Republican leaders outlined a number of concerns with parts of new Gov. Jay Inslee’s inaugural address during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
House Republican Leader Richard Debolt (R-Chehalis) said he was disappointed that Inslee was picking winners and losers by supporting tax breaks for programs delivering clean energy.
“State government shouldn’t decide who is successful and who is not. We have to do what we can to help all businesses,” Debolt said.
Debolt said he was also surprised the governor mentioned his support for the Reproductive Parity Act, which would require insurance companies to cover abortions if they also cover live births.
“It was funny that he would take a day of unification and try to make it a politically dividing event,” DeBolt said. “Social issues are not as important as it is getting people back to work again. That should be the focus of our governor.”
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) said the governor’s speech lacked detail, especially concerning gun control.
“The governor hasn’t given us any specifics on gun safety. We all agree it’s important, but there were no details prior and none today in the speech,” Schoesler said.
All the Republican leaders praised Inslee for the making jobs his top priority and said they plan to help Inslee keep his campaign pledge to not raise taxes.
“We have to have those jobs to get people off public assistance,” Rep. Dan Kristiansen (R-Snohomish) said.
Rep. Kevin Parker (R-Spokane) gave a videotaped official Republican perspective prior to the news conference.
Parker focused on funding education and balancing the budget without introducing new taxes.
Days away from the start of the 2013 legislative session, Senate leaders still disagree on how they will share power on committees.
Senate Republicans will control the chamber with the help of two breakaway Democrats, Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon. The coalition has proposed that each party chair six committees, and co-chair three committees.
Under the proposal, Republicans would chair the most powerful committees — including the budget, education and healthcare — while Democrats would get six lower-tier committees.
At the Associated Press Legislative Preview event today, Senate Democratic leader Ed Murray said his members have voted to reject the GOP offer and they don’t intend to name chairs to the committees that the Republicans have offered.
“Offering the smaller committees to Democrats isn’t bipartisan,” Murray said.
Tom, who is the leader of the coalition, said the group is offering Democrats an “unprecedented amount of power,” and they’re still waiting for a response.
“We’re not doing this for window dressing,” said Tom. “We’re approaching this so we can have a vibrant dialogue.”
Tom said the coalition approached committee chairmanship like a business and selected the best qualified person for the job. For example, he said Sen. Andy Hill, the Redmond Republican who has been tapped to lead the budget-writing committee, holds an MBA from Harvard and is a former Microsoft executive.
Murray said he hopes both sides can “negotiate a bipartisan way to govern” before the start of session on Monday.
“We can move forward regardless of some of the complications that exist,” Murray said “The thing to focus on is the end result.”
The top Republican on the budget-writing committee in the House, Rep. Gary Alexander of Olympia, said Tuesday he believes Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s proposed budget will be “dead on arrival” once session starts in January.
“While I can see using a few of her budget reductions, I just can’t see the incoming legislature or the new governor using her overall budget or her tax increases as a starting point,” Alexander said in a statement.
Gregoire called for the renewal of two expiring taxes to pay for education funding, as well as the implementation of a new wholesale gas tax that would fund school transportation.
Alexander said the state doesn’t need to raise taxes to pay for education. “Her budget ties student transportation funding to one of the most volatile funding sources — a tax on the wholesale price of gas,” Alexander said.
Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, has been nominated to chair the Senate budget-writing committee by the GOP-led coalition. He said Gregoire’s budget will be a “useful reference” as the Senate prepares its own budget.
“We will be working under a number of constraints. One is the new state law that requires the budget to balance across four years of projections. This will have the effect of creating a responsible budget that looks to long-term stability. Also, given Gov.-elect Inslee’s promise to veto any new taxes, we are moving forward under the assumption that additional taxes are not an option,” Hill said.
Senate Democrats on Monday rejected a power-sharing proposal offered by the Republican-led coalition, instead offering a counterproposal that would install a co-chair from each party on all committees.
Republicans dismissed the idea, saying that having co-chairs on all committees “would be a recipe for gridlock, particularly in areas like education and the operating budget.”
Senate Republicans announced earlier this month they plan to control the chamber with the help of two breakaway Democrats, Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon. The group, calling itself the Majority Coalition Caucus, will hold a 25 to 24 vote advantage.
The coalition asked Democrats to accept a power-sharing agreement that would give each party six committee chairs. Under the proposal, Republicans would chair the most powerful committees — including the budget, education and healthcare committees — while Democrats would get natural resources, agriculture, trade, financial institutions, higher education and environment.
Senate Democratic leader Ed Murray rejected that proposal, saying it’s clear the Senate is in a “virtual tie” and the committee structure should reflect that.
“We propose a structure of co-leadership and co-chairs of all committees. We would support Republicans and they would support us in a true bipartisan arrangement with true sharing of power and responsibilities,” Murray said in a statement.
Tom, who would serve as the coalition’s majority leader, and Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler called on Democrats to cooperate.
“It is our hope that the current majority will cooperate with us to ensure a smooth handoff of leadership and allow the Senate to tackle the many pressing needs of our state from day one of the 2013 session,” Tom and Schoesler said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, Murray and Tom exchanged letters about the upcoming session in which it is clear the two sides won’t cooperate before session. That means the GOP-led coalition will likely have to change the rules of the Senate if it wants to take control in January.
Two fiscally conservative Democrats announced today they are joining forces with Republicans to create a new “majority coalition caucus” that will control the Washington state Senate.
Democratic Senators Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch stood with five Senate Republican leaders at a press conference Monday to explain how the new caucus will govern. Tom would serve as the new Senate majority leader, and Sheldon would be president pro tempore.
The caucus has proposed splitting power by allowing Democrats and Republicans to each chair six committees, and co-chair three committees.
The powerful budget-writing Ways and Means committee would be chaired by Republican Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond under the proposal. The K-12 education committee would be led by Republican Sen. Steve Litzow of Mercer Island.
Tom said he believes more Democrats will join the caucus, which has pledged to govern under a set of “principles” that include creating a sustainable budget, promoting job growth and reforming education.
“The public is not looking for one-party domination,” Tom said. “They are looking for us to get away from politics and start governing.”
Senate Democratic leader Ed Murray released a statement saying that “any majority in the Senate will be an unstable one.” Democrats held a slim 26-23 majority before today’s announcement; the new caucus would hold a 25-24 majority.
“We don’t believe the Republicans’ take-it-or-leave-it plan offers the right way forward. We remain hopeful that Republicans will be open to negotiations to ensure the full functioning of the Senate,” Murray said.
On this week’s “Inside Olympia,” host Austin Jenkins talks with new Senate Democratic leader Ed Murray about the party’s tenuous majority in the state Senate and speculation about a power-sharing agreement with Republicans. Democratic Sen. David Frockt, the co-chair of a new bipartisan education committee tasked with finding solutions to McCleary, is also a guest on the show.
Newly elected Senate Democratic majority leader Sen. Ed Murray said today that if two conservative Democrats flip sides and align with the GOP to elect their own majority leader off the Senate floor, it would “poison the atmosphere” for years to come.
“It would throw out a 100 years of how the Senate has functioned,” Murray told “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins.
Democrats hold a tenuous advantage in the state Senate. They will either have a 27-22 or a 26-23 majority, depending on the results of a hand recount in Clark County. Republican Don Benton is winning there by just 78 votes over Democrat Tim Probst.
Two fiscally conservative Democrats, Sen. Rodney Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, joined forces with Republicans over the budget in a surprise coup last session. GOP leaders have suggested the same thing could happen in the upcoming session, giving them a “philosophical majority.”
Murray said that type of majority would be too “unstable” to lead — especially given that Tom is a more socially liberal Democrat who voted in favor of same-sex marriage and is pro-choice.
“We have to function, we have to govern,” Murray said. “If someone isn’t in control, you have chaos.”
The full interview airs tonight, Nov. 29, at 7 & 10 p.m. on TVW. Also a guest on the show: Sen. David Frockt, the co-chair of a new bipartisan education committee charged with finding ways to comply with the state Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund education.
Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville was picked to be the new Senate Republican leader, replacing Sen. Mike Hewitt who announced he wasn’t seeking reelection for the leadership position.
Schoesler has served in the state Legislature for 20 years, and is a member of the Senate budget-writing committee.
Senate Republicans also elected other members of their leadership team, including:
- Caucus Chair: Linda Evans Parlette of Wenatchee
- Floor Leader: Joe Fain of Auburn
- Whip: Ann Rivers of La Center
- Deputy Leader: Don Benton of Vancouver (Benton is ahead by just 78 votes in Clark County, where a hand recount is expected to officially determine the winner)
- Caucus Vice Chair: Sen.-elect Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup
- Deputy Floor Leader: Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside
- Deputy Whip: Sen.-elect John Braun of Centralia
Labor & Industries director Judy Schurke is resigning her post at the end of the year. Schurke was appointed to the position in March 2007 after serving as interim director for five months.
Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s office announced the news is a press release, lauding Schurke for her role in implementing the “most significant reforms to the workers’ compensation system in its 100-year history” and for leading the department during the economic recession.
Schurke first started at Labor & Industries in 1974 as a clerk typist. She rose to become a supervisor within the department, and left in 1989 to work for Boeing Co. before later returning to the state agency.
Also today, Sen. Bob Morton announced he is retiring on Jan. 1. The Republican from Kettle Falls has represented the 7th Legislative District for 22 years. Morton said he’s leaving to spend time with his family and allow “new leadership” in the Senate.
Morton is leaving halfway through his term. To fill the vacancy, the Board of County Commissioners in his district must select a replacement from a list of candidates picked by the Republican party.
In a statement, Morton said:
This is the time for me to retire as senator from the 7th legislative district, effective January 1, 2013, thereby opening the door for new leadership in the Senate to take on the responsibility to learn the legislative process and get to know the ‘movers and shakers’ of the state.
Hewitt, who has served in the leadership position since 2005, said in a statement he is stepping down because of his health and to “encourage a new model of leadership in the state Senate.”
The news comes a day after a Seattle Times story that said Republicans are considering another Senate coup, similar to the one that took control of the budget away from Democrats last session. One of the Democrats who made that possible by voting with Republicans — Sen. Rodney Tom — is named in the story as a possible “coalition leader.”
Hewitt said he wants to promote new Senate leadership from the center.
“Focusing on centrist policy rather than party labels is what will make the people of Washington a winner,” Hewitt said.
Senate Democrats elected Sen. Ed Murray as their party leader earlier this week. Senate Republicans will elect their leaders at a caucus meeting on Nov. 28