Topic: Mark Schoesler
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
February 14, 2013 at 1:44 PM
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 remarks yet on the subject.
Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said he believes his caucus has the votes on the Senate Rules Committee, which largely controls the flow of legislation on the floor, to prevent votes on the measures if they ever get that far.
Taking on the gun control and abortion issues would distract the Legislature from more important business, like the budget, Schoesler argued.
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday blasted that logic, calling it “a fairly pathetic excuse for inaction.”
Inslee said this Saturday would be a good day for the Senate to pass the legislation. “It’s not something that is going to take months to develop a legislative package … this is an up or down vote on a common-sense measure,” he said. “It’s very disappointing to me that in a Senate that we were told was going to be open to democracy on a bipartisan basis to shut the door on an honest vote.”
Republicans gained control of the Senate on the first day of the session with the help of two Democrats — Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch — who crossed party lines to caucus with the GOP.
Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said both bills deserve floor votes. “These bills need to come up for a vote because I believe the votes are there,” he said.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a universal background-check proposal, House Bill 1588. The bill would require background checks for all firearm purchases. Currently, licensed dealers are required to do the checks, but private sellers are not.
A similar measure, Senate Bill 5711, has 23 signatures including two moderate Republicans. The bill has not gotten a hearing. Democrats think they likely have the 25 votes needed to pass the measure in the Senate if it gets to the floor.
The same is true, they say, for the Senate version of the Reproductive Parity Act, which would require that insurance companies continue to cover abortions once the national health-care law goes into full effect in 2014.
The bill’s supporters say it’s needed because there’s uncertainty about how the federal health-care overhaul, and restrictions on abortion funding, might affect abortion coverage in the future.
Both the abortion and background check measures have gotten a lot of attention during the first few weeks of the session and have generated strong opinions on both sides.
Schoesler said the Senate has more important jobs ahead.
For example, he said, the Legislature needs to discuss expanding Medicaid as part of the national health-care law.
“Do you want to spend all that time on the floor and committee hearing and caucus time on whether or not to accept it (the expansion), and if you do what safeguards you may want, or do you spend time talking about gun control that may very well go nowhere?” he said.
Democrats, informally, have talked about trying to use procedural rules in the Senate to bring the bills to the floor for a vote. But that’s considered a long shot at the moment.
January 31, 2013 at 9:48 AM
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 the Capitol on Thursday morning.
But the other influential lawmaker walking with him, Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler, was not as pleased.
“Why don’t I have one?” joked Schoesler, of Ritzville.
It was one of several good-natured exchanges prompted by the painting, a photo-shopped picture of Tom — adorned with robe and crown.
Fuse Washington, a progressive group, created it this week.
“King Rodney Tom’s ascension to power in Washington is a remarkable story of drama and palace intrigue,” read a scroll-shaped flier distributed Thursday by the artists, who also handed out coffee and donuts. “For King Tom, it’s all about ego, ambition and political power. Compromise means convincing others to agree with him, and loyalty comes from leverage, not trust.”
Tom and Potlatch Democrat Tim Sheldon see their coalition with 23 Republicans somewhat differently. They have framed the coalition, which holds a one-vote majority in the 49-member Senate, as an opportunity for the divided chamber “to work together in a collaborative manner.”
Erin Haick, a 31-year-old Seattle resident and the field director for Fuse Washington, said it took her five to six hours to create the portrait.
January 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM
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, R-Chehalis, also criticized Inslee for mentioning support for the Reproductive Parity Act, which would require health-insurance plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions.
“It was funny that he would take a day of unification and try to make it a politically dividing event,” DeBolt said. “I don’t like special interest politics being brought up in the State of the State address.”
DeBolt and other leaders also mentioned climate change and gun policy as additional concerns.
They also argued that Inslee was not specific enough in his first speech.
“There were a lot of nice things said today, but it (the speech) was very short on detail,” said Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “That’s unfortunate, because the details are what will drive this process through the next 103 days.”
However, the Republicans did see some things they liked. All of the leaders praised Inslee for his prioritization of jobs. And state Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said she appreciated that Inslee has lived in both Eastern and Western Washington.
The leaders answered questions after a videotaped official GOP response from state Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane.
Parker used his speech to call for an increase in education funding without raising taxes.
The Legislature is currently facing a state Supreme Court order to increase education funding. Democrats generally want to rely partially on new taxes to do that, while Republicans generally do not. Inslee has said he doesn’t think new taxes are needed.
“Gov. Inslee has promised he will not raise taxes, and we stand shoulder to shoulder to him on that,” Parker said. “We have the resources to fund education. We don’t need to raise taxes to do it.”
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.
About this blog
Trending with readers