By this post’s title, you’d think we were in a sordid film. But really we were in the House Republican Caucus room for the GOP’s weekly media availability. Notable highlights: 1. Several bills to change the gun purchase background-check expansion, the recently passed Initiative 594, were heard Monday in committee hearings. But Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, said they aren’t likely to…More
Topic: Mark Schoesler
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OLYMPIA — Now that we’re into the second week of the legislative session, lawmakers are digging into various issues. GOP members of the House and Senate held forth on a bunch of issues Tuesday at a media availability. 1. On bills that would raise the minimum wage (SB 5285, HB 1355), Republican Deputy Leader Sen. Jon…More
State lawmakers have decided to forgo one custom that they’ve had since the 1990s: a State of the Judiciary speech.
The speech, given by the state Supreme Court’s chief justice, has been given at the start of every budget session – which is every odd-numbered year – in a joint address to the House and Senate. The practice goes back to at least 1995; here’s footage of the one given by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen in 2013.
In state politics, 2014 will go down as the year the court held legislators in contempt for not making enough progress to fully fund public education. Earlier this month, some lawmakers protested the court’s action by filing a bill to make court races partisan.
In a recent Facilities and Operations Committee meeting, lawmakers decided not to schedule the State of the Judiciary address. Legislative leaders, however, insist the decision is not in retaliation for the contempt ruling.
“I don’t think either chamber is eager to go after the Supreme Court,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington. “This is not a slap in the face to the court.”More
GOP state senators Monday elected Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, their new majority leader. Schoesler replaces outgoing Sen. Rodney Tom, a Democrat, who retired this year rather than run for re-election. Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, crossed the aisle two years ago to caucus with Republicans and form the GOP-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus. “I’m grateful to…More
OLYMPIA — Conservative Republican state senators joined with minority Democrats to defeat a teacher-evaluation bill Tuesday evening, dealing a rare defeat to the chamber’s majority leadership just as a key deadline passed. Supporters of Senate Bill 5246 said its defeat could restrict local school districts’ flexibility to spend about $40 million in federal funding. The proposal would require…More
By CHRIS GRYGIEL The Associated Press OLYMPIA — The problems facing two state transportation “megaprojects” will loom large over discussions in the Legislature this year to raise the gas tax to pay for roads, bridges and transit throughout Washington. Leading lawmakers said at an Associated Press legislative forum Thursday that recent issues with the State Highway 520 bridge…More
Updated 3:15 Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said he does not expect floor votes this session on either universal background checks or the abortion measure. “I would rather see our time focused on how we get to a four-year balanced budget, how we reform K-12, what we do about higher education,” Schoesler said in his most definitive…More
OLYMPIA — Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, it turns out, can appreciate quality artwork even when it’s a parody portrait depicting him as a monarch. The Medina Democrat, who angered his own party by forming a majority coalition with Republicans, laughed off a “King Rodney Tom” painting when he encountered it outside…More
Republican legislative leaders used a post-inauguration news conference to express concern about several parts of new Gov. Jay Inslee’s inaugural speech. Richard DeBolt, leader of the House Republicans, said he was nervous about Inslee’s support for new tax credits for clean energy programs, calling those and other Inslee priorities a case of “picking winners and losers.” DeBolt,…More
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…More