Topic: sen. ed murray
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April 25, 2013 at 5:54 PM
The GOP-led majority in the Senate held a preemptive news conference Thursday to blame Democrats for potentially dragging the Legislature into special session – four days before the regular session is set to end.
“We are calling on the House of Representatives to do their job,” said Senate Deputy Republican Leader Don Benton, of Vancouver. “The Senate has done its work.”
Benton and other members of the GOP-controlled majority caucus said they’ve passed all the bills needed to wrap up the state operating budget and blamed House Democrats for not moving on them.
Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, who held his on news conference afterward to respond, said Republicans have been out of power so long they’ve forgotten how to govern.
“You are not governing if you say here is my budget, we’re done,” Murray said, noting it’s the majority’s job not only to pass a budget in the Senate but also to compromise with the Democratically controlled House to pass a budget there.
Republicans took control of the state Senate, for the first time in eight years, on the first day of the session when Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, of Medina, and Tim Sheldon, of Potlatch, crossed party lines to caucus with the GOP.
Legislative leaders have not officially said there will be a special session, but have strongly indicated it’s likely.
Sheldon and Benton on Thursday also said that if Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee decided to wait a few weeks before calling a special session, it would be for political reasons.
“I’ve got to say that frankly I smell a rat. I think it’s politics … There are individuals running for offices,” he said, referring specifically to Murray, who is running for mayor of Seattle and cannot raise money for his campaign while the Legislature is in session.
Murray said he’s not worried about going into a special session and that his campaign would do fine regardless.
David Postman, a spokesman for Inslee, said the remarks were out of line.
“To claim outright there is some ulterior political motive on the part of others demeans them. That’s not what this is about and they should not be talking like that,” he said. “They said it about the governor and said it about other people and they know that’s out of line.”
March 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM
OLYMPIA — The state Senate today approved 29-20 a bill to limit a recently implemented Seattle sick leave law.
Democratic Sens. Tracey Eide of Federal Way, Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, Brian Hatfield of Raymond, and Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, joined the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus to support the measure.
The bill will now go to the Democrat-run House, where it is unlikely to gain traction. House leaders are instead focused on expanding sick leave.
The Seattle law, which has been in effect only since September, requires companies to offer paid sick leave if they have at least five employees and do business in Seattle.
Senate Bill 5726 would make it illegal for local governments to require employers to offer paid sick leave unless the business is physically located within the local government’s jurisdiction or 85 percent of the hours worked for that employer are worked in the area.
Bill sponsor John Braun, R-Centralia, said the Seattle law places unnecessary hardships on businesses that aren’t even located in the Seattle.
“[This bill] is about giving our employers their best chance,” Braun said.
Minority Leader Ed Murray said he views the bill as a direct attack on Seattle and its decision-making authority. He urged other senators to think twice before passing legislation to limit the jurisdictions of local governments.
“This is a divisive discussion aimed at further dividing the state, and it’s not respectful,” said Murray, D-Seattle. “I don’t think this is a good way to bring legislators together.”
Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, said the bill is a matter of public health and safety. She said she doesn’t want childcare workers, food servers and hotel employees to come to work sick because they might spread their illnesses to her or her family. Many employees don’t have a choice in the matter, she said, because they don’t have the financial freedom to take an unpaid sick day.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles agreed.
“I’m sure everybody here has gone into a restaurant and had the server sneeze,” said Kohl Welles, D-Seattle. “That’s happened to me before, and it really gives me the creeps.”
February 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM
OLYMPIA — Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray has introduced a measure to send a 5 percent excise tax on capital gains to voters for approval.
It’s not clear, though, if Senate Bill 5738 will get a hearing. Senate Republicans control the Senate and have made it clear they’re opposed to any new taxes, outside of a potential gas-tax increase for transportation.
Murray floated the idea last month, and introduced the bill Wednesday.
The capital-gains tax Murray proposes would exclude the sale of a principal residence, as well as the first $10,000 in gains for individuals and the first $20,000 for married couples. His proposal also would extend beer, and business-and-occupation tax surcharges – due to expire next year – until the end of 2015.
The proposal is projected to raise $540 million for education during the next two fiscal years. Murray’s bill would send the money toward specific programs, including all-day kindergarten, class-size reductions in early grades and higher education enrollment.
February 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM
Saying he wants to increase access to higher education for students who are undocumented immigrants, Sen. Ed Murray plans to introduce a bill Wednesday granting them access to State Need Grants.
Murray, the Senate’s Democratic leader. introduced a bill last session, but the legislation never got a single hearing. At a news conference Tuesday, he said he is confident the bill will fare better this session, even though the Senate is controlled by the Majority Coalition Caucus, made up mostly of Republicans.
“We’ve had some good conversations with some Republicans who are interested in seeing some version of this bill,” said Murray, who has begun a campaign for Seattle mayor. “The demographics of the state are changing and I think that reality is affecting how some of our colleagues think about this.”
But this issue is tricky and has long been controversial. And even if Murray is able to generate bipartisan support, his bill could suffer from the state’s budget problems — especially since about 32,000 students were turned away from the State Need Grant in 2012.
Including undocumented students, that number could grow by about 800, according to Ricardo Sanchez, director of the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project.
Murray said he would solve that problem by allocating money to fund the State Need Grant from a capital gains tax. He has yet to introduce his capital gains tax bill.
Regardless of funding challenges, Murray said it’s the state’s duty to help undocumented immigrant students who live here obtain an education, given that population’s long contributions to the agricultural industry. He pointed out that many of these young people were brought to America as young children, and are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.
“Those young people should not be punished because they were brought here and lived here through no action of their own,” Murray said.
The students who would qualify for state aid under Murray’s plan are the so-called DREAM Act kids, who under a plan by the Obama Administration, have already been granted reprieve from deportation, a sort of temporary resident status for those brought to this country as children.
Undocumented immigrant students in Washington state already qualify for in-state tuition, although a bill in the Legislature would repeal that benefit and deny any financial aid.
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