Topic: ed murray
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March 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM
State Senator Ed Murray, who declared his candidacy for Seattle mayor in December, announced Thursday that he is indeed running.
“I am running for mayor,” said Murray in a press release.
To be fair, Murray’s initial announcement was qualified by his inability to actively campaign or raise money while the Legislature is in session. He described his candidacy as “exploratory,” but went on to raise almost $120,000 for the mayor’s race in the nine days before the session began.
Since then, he also has picked up an endorsement for mayor from the national Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization for LGBT Americans. The only other local candidate to with the group’s endorsement this year is Christine Quinn, the openly gay candidate for New York City mayor.
Murray Wednesday also said he is hiring Maggie Thompson as his campaign manager. Thompson oversaw the Seattle citywide organizing for the successful state referendum to legalize gay marriage. She previously worked on the campaign to oppose liquor privatization in the state.
March 13, 2013 at 6:41 PM
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Dream Act was approved by the state House on Wednesday, bringing undocumented students one step closer to being eligible for the State Need Grant.
The measure was approved 77-20, with unanimous Democrat support and a split vote on the Republican side. It was the last piece of House legislation to make it through before the session’s cutoff.
House Bill 1817 would qualify all students who graduated from a Washington high school or earned a diploma-equivalent in the state for the State Need Grant — the state’s largest financial-aid program — as long as they meet other grant requirements. The students must also remain in the state after earning their diploma, until they attend college.
Bill sponsor Rep. Zack Hudgins urged fellow legislators to pass HB 1817 for the good of Washington. He said regardless of where students are born, they are capable of having a big impact on the state’s economy.
“[Undocumented students] are the ones who will sell our apples and pears and airplanes,” said Hudgins, D-Tukwila. “These kids have no choice in where they are born, but they do have a choice in how hard they work.”
The issue now goes to the Senate for consideration. Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, introduced a similar bill the Senate, but it died without receiving a hearing. And on Wednesday, a maneuver by supporters to pass the Dream Act by tacking it onto other legislation failed.
Several House Republicans spoke in favor of the bill Wednesday, arguing it would benefit their constituents and strengthen their communities. Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, said receiving an education will allow undocumented students a chance to participate fully in their communities.
But fellow Republican Rep. Larry Haler, of Richland, spoke against passage – not because he disagreed with the intent of the bill, but because of the budget.
“Currently we can’t fund 32,000 young men and women who meet the eligibility of the State Need Grant,” said Haler, R-Richland. “Sometime in the future, a few years from now, we might be able to afford it.”
Rep. Overstreet, R-Lynden, argued that the bill shouldn’t be passed because people in the county illegally shouldn’t have access to a state-funded education. He said representatives shouldn’t vote on the bill based on emotion or compassion, they should vote based on laws already in place.
February 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM
State Sen. Ed Murray picked up a national endorsement today in his campaign for Seattle mayor. The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization working for equality for LGBT Americans, said it was breaking with its tradition of not getting involved in local races because of Murray’s “exceptional leadership on civil rights.”
Murray can’t actively campaign for mayor until the 2013 Legislature adjourns in several months. His campaign said that knowing it has the support of an organization with 65,000 members in the state means it will have plenty of volunteers when he does actively enter the race.
“They’re big. They have tens of thousands of members in the Seattle area. Their support and enthusiasm is going to power this campaign,” said Sandeep Kaushik, Murray’s campaign consultant.
The Human Rights Campaign said Murray, during 15 years in public office, had successfully built “bi-partisan support for Washington State’s historic marriage equality legislation.”
The group said that the only other local candidate to win its endorsement this year is Christine Quinn, the New York City Council Speaker, who is considered a frontrunner to succeed Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of New York.
February 28, 2013 at 5:07 PM
OLYMPIA — Hours after the state Supreme Court declared a supermajority requirement for tax increases unconstitutional, Republicans have started a quest to revive the threshold — by amending the constitution.
The GOP-run Senate budget-writing committee voted 13-10 Thursday afternoon to enshrine the requirement in the constitution.
The proposed constitutional amendment, like the initiative-imposed state law that was struck down earlier Thursday, would require legislation to increase taxes to obtain support from two-thirds of lawmakers or a majority vote of the people.
That standard has been approved by votes five times since 1993. But in a 6-3 ruling, the justices found it violates the constitution.
The constitutional amendment path is unlikely to succeed. Ironically, the proposed amendment would need to obtain its own supermajority — two-thirds support in the full state Senate and state House — and then get a majority of voters.
Democrats, who control the House, say they won’t even give it a vote there. The Senate is almost evenly split.
But if nothing else, the debate in the Senate Ways and Means Committee gave supporters of the two-thirds requirement an opportunity to make a symbolic statement against the court ruling.
“The people of Washington state did not send us down to Olympia to raise taxes,” said Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a Medina Democrat who caucuses with 23 Republicans and one other Democrat in the majority coalition caucus.
Tom noted that 19 of the committee’s 23 members come from legislative districts where voters approved the supermajority requirement last fall.
Tom’s counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said the requirement allows for a “tyranny of the minority.”
Before the final vote, state Sen. Brian Hatfield unsuccessfully proposed a constitutional amendment of his own: a two-thirds requirement for all votes in the Legislature.
“This is, in some ways, kind of a put up or shut up,” said Hatfield, D-Raymond.
The final vote on the taxes-only requirement went along caucus lines, with all members of the mostly-GOP majority coalition voting yes and all members of the Democratic caucus voting no.
February 22, 2013 at 1:52 PM
It’s cutoff day in Olympia, which theoretically (more on that in a minute) means that non-fiscal bills that don’t make it out of committee in either the state House or Senate today cannot be passed this session.
There is no cutoff for bills deemed necessary to implement the budget, which means that sponsors of bills having to do with money don’t really have anything to sweat about yet.
And even seemingly non-fiscal bills have a way of being brought back from the dead as part of a deal at the end of the session — either by being declared somehow necessary to implement the budget or through a procedural maneuver.
Still, it’s a somewhat important day for determining whether proposals have a real shot at passage.
The House Judiciary Committee, which Democrats run and has produced most of the gun-control proposals this session — including a universal background-check bill — does not have another meeting scheduled today. The Republican-controlled Senate Law and Justice Committee does have a meeting this afternoon, but even Democrats acknowledge the assault-weapons ban doesn’t have a chance there.
“There wasn’t broad enough consensus for it to have a chance of passage,” said state Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, who is coordinating gun legislation for the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Harper noted that the assault-weapons bill was not among the caucus’ priority proposals. None of those got a hearing in the Senate, but some are alive by virtue of getting through a House committee.
The so-called assault-weapons ban has been a focus among some Democrats across the country, who see it as a needed response to the school shooting in Connecticut.
Murray, who is running for Seattle mayor, has said the effort may take several sessions.
Check back later for cutoff-day updates.
January 30, 2013 at 1:58 PM
By JONATHAN KAMINSKY
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — The Washington state Senate on Wednesday passed its first bills of the 2013 legislative session, but put off a vote on a set of controversial measures intended to save businesses money by changing workers’ compensation rules.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville said the five bills dealing with workers’ compensation, which passed out of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Monday, will likely come to the floor soon.
“We heard the minority’s concerns about being rushed and we decided to respect them,” Schoesler said.
Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said his caucus would not have stood in the way of a vote on the bills Wednesday but objected to an attempt to push action on them to Friday.
“We believe this needs to happen on a day when people will actually read about it in the newspaper,” Murray said.
Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, a centrist, said he would have voted against all the bills had they come up Wednesday, but could envision revising that stance.
“Giving more time lets me figure out what is in there which means that potentially there would be one that I could vote for,” Hargrove said.
One of the measures, Senate Bill 5126, would reverse a recent Washington Supreme Court ruling that barred the state from compensating itself for benefits paid to an injured worker by taking a cut of the pain and suffering damages awarded to the worker suing a third party for his or her injury.
Another, Senate Bill 5124, would change how an injured worker’s benefits are calculated, in part by excluding the value of his or her health benefits.
Two of the bills, Senate Bills 5127 and 5128, would make “compromise-and-release” settlement agreements available to all workers – they are currently limited to those 55 and older — and make it easier for the state to approve such deals, respectively.
The bill lifting the age restriction on such deals has a companion bill in the House, House Bill 1097, sponsored by Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw.
The proposed changes to the workers compensation system come in the wake of a raft of reforms passed in 2011 meant to rein in costs to a system widely viewed as overburdened.
The state’s Department of Labor and Industries recently proposed a series of tax increases, mostly aimed at employers, to raise $1.1 billion over the next decade in order to further shore up its reserves.
Among the five bills passed Wednesday with broad support were Senate Bill 5052, which would allocate an additional superior court judge to Whatcom County and Senate Bill 5021, which would change the name of the crime of rioting to that of criminal mischief.
Those bills will now be transferred to the House.
January 22, 2013 at 3:01 PM
State Sen. Ed Murray, who led the referendum campaign to legalize gay marriage, is getting married Aug. 10 to his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki. The two planned the wedding for the 22-year anniversary of the day they met, on a hiking trip at Mt. Rainier.
It also happens to be four days after the Aug. 6 primary election, where Murray is vying for Mayor Mike McGinn’s job at City Hall. His success will hinge on the crowded and competitive primary, where several big-name, experienced politicians are fighting to advance to the November election.
Murray said he thought it might be “a little weird” to get married so close to the election, but Shiosaki really wanted to do it then. Over the years, Murray said, Shiosaki has had to give up a lot for Murray’s political schedule. Murray gave in.
Murray unwittingly announced the couple’s engagement on Facebook Tuesday afternoon. Sitting at his desk in Olympia, he said he noticed he could change his Facebook profile from domestic partners to “engaged.” He did, and the comments started flying. More than 100 people had “liked” his status within 45 minutes. Shiosaki called him directly, he said, to ask about the unplanned announcement. The two have said publicly in the past that they planned to marry sometime in 2013, but they hadn’t gotten specific.
As native Washingtonians, Murray said, he and Shiosaki have waited a long time to get married in their own state. They plan to exchange vows at St. Mark’s Cathedral.
January 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM
State Sen. Ed Murray chastised Sen. Rodney Tom Friday in a strongly-worded letter that questions Tom’s leadership as chair of a committee that wants to shut down the state’s prepaid college tuition program.
Tom, who described the Guaranteed Education Tuition program as a “Ponzi scheme” during a phone interview Friday, said it would be “fiscally irresponsible” for the state to continue to take GET investments. He defended the way he polled members for a final vote, which occurred via email on Dec. 31, and said the procedure was given the OK by the Senate’s attorney.
Murray wrote that “while it may technically be within your legal authority as the Chair of the Advisory Committee to email committee members on the final day of the calendar year and ask for their input on a proposal that was never properly vetted in a public forum, your actions certainly do not follow the spirit of transparency and open government for which the State of Washington and the State Senate are known.
“Furthermore, the Committee’s recommendation to close the GET program far exceeds the directive given by the Legislature, which was simply to make a recommendation regarding differential tuition as it relates to the solvency of the GET program,” Murray wrote.
Tom polled committee members by email because too few of them were present at the last meeting to reach a consensus. Tom said he took the vote on Dec. 31 because one member, former state Sen. Lisa Brown, was going to begin a new job as chancellor of Washington State University-Spokane, on Jan. 1, and he did not want her to have the appearance of a conflict of interest when she voted.
“Out of deference to Senator Brown, Senator Murray is trying to attack me?” Tom asked Friday. “That makes no sense. I was doing it for her benefit, not mine.”
Tom’s committee released a report this week recommending that the GET program be closed. The college savings program is currently underfunded by about $631 million; the state actuary expects the fund to fully recover in about 20 years.
The committee was formed to make a recommendation to the Legislature on whether to allow state universities to charge different tuition for different programs, and to examine how that might affect the GET program.
January 14, 2013 at 2:15 PM
The first day of the state Senate’s 2013 session got off to a rocky start Monday after the opening prayer included what some saw as a reference to same-sex marriage.
As part of his invocation, Jon Sanne of Olympia’s Calvary Chapel expressed that marriage be strengthened “as You ordained it for our good and Your glory.”
Many saw that as a swipe at same-sex marriage, although Republican leader Mark Schoesler — who invited Sanne to speak — said it was not meant as a political statement.
“He prayed,” Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said in an interview on the Senate floor. “I asked him to speak, and I don’t censor prayer.”
Still, Democrats expressed disappointment.
Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, called it “polarizing language,” in a speech on the floor.
And Democratic leader Ed Murray released a statement saying it was “regrettable that we begin the 2013 session on a divisive note.”
“The loaded phrase ‘strengthen marriage as You ordained it for our good and Your glory’ is intended as negative commentary about gays and lesbians, and has no business being included in a prayer before this institution,” said Murray, D-Seattle.
Murray, who is openly gay, was an architect of the Legislature ‘s bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill passed last year, and voters approved it in November.
January 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Three Democratic senators have agreed to chair, or co-chair, committees as offered by Senate Republicans.
Sen. Tracey Eide will co-chair the Senate Transportation Committee along with GOP Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima. Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, will chair the Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee and Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond will chair Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development.
Eide, in an interview off the Senate floor, would not describe the reaction of her caucus but said she’d given the move a “lot of thought” before pulling the trigger.
“It’s always been a bi-partisan committee,” Eide said of the transportation panel, and noted there will be an effort to send voters a transportation tax package this session to pay for highway improvements.
Hobbs said that he’s a centrist and by taking the Republican offer of a committee chairmanship, “this shows I’m still a centrist.”
Hatfield said he was just being realistic. “You come to the realization, ‘We’re in the minority.’ And at that point, you play the hand you’re dealt,” he said.
Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murry, D-Seattle, said his caucus supported their decision. All three senators will remain in the Democratic caucus and will not join the GOP coalition.
Republicans are expected to take control of the state Senate on Monday with the help of Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch. The two Democrats would give the GOP a 25-24 majority.
There are already some signs of the shift in power. Tom has moved into the Senate majority leader’s office, for example. And there was a fair amount of confusion Monday morning as people tried to figure out the new configuration.
Outgoing Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, who lost to Democratic Gov-elect Jay Inslee in the gubernatorial election, dropped by to say some parting words to the Republican Senate caucus — and accidentally knocked on the door of the Democratic caucus.
Republicans and Democrats have switched sides in the Senate chamber, giving the GOP more spacious offices. McKenna apparently wasn’t aware they’d already moved.
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