January 31, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Republicans say state Senate is “operating just fine”
The GOP-led coalition in the Senate declared victory after passing five noncontroversial bills on Wednesday with near unanimous votes.
“Despite dire predictions of gridlock the Senate is operating just fine,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said in a statement late Wednesday. “The Majority Coalition Caucus is governing – focusing on job growth, education and creating a sustainable budget while bringing an unprecedented level of cooperation and transparency.”
Tom became majority leader after he and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, crossed party lines to give Republicans control of the Senate. Since then the coalition has maintained it’s ushering in a new era of bi-partisan cooperation.
The bills that passed, however, dealt with issues such as increasing the number of superior court judges in Whatcom County from three to four, allowing judges to serve out their terms instead of retiring at the end of the calendar year they reach 75, and changing the crime of retail theft with extenuating circumstances to “retail theft with special circumstances.”
None of the bills dealt with job growth, education or creating a sustainable budget.
“Those were five non controversial bills that would have passed under any majority,” said Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle. “They will fly through the House as well. This is just smoke an mirrors.”
Murray said Republicans will get a big fight on bills aimed at revamping the state workers compensation system. Those are expected to come up for a vote next week.
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