Topic: Sen. Pam Roach
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February 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM
OLYMPIA — The Republican-led majority in the state Senate released two documents Wednesday detailing allegations that state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, violated workplace policies last year by verbally abusing staff.
The Seattle Times requested the documents a month ago through public records requests. The Senate released a December draft investigation and a final report written in January that looked at various allegations against Roach.
Both reports said she violated Senate workplace policy in one instance when she complained to a Senate staffer who was trying to uphold restrictions — since removed — that prevented her access to staff. Roach has disputed the allegations.
The January report’s only recommendation was that “the Senate’s Respectful Workplace Policy should be updated and clarified.”
The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee, which oversees staff for the chamber, voted Tuesday night to close the investigation and said no further action was warranted.
The panel last month voted to remove past sanctions, dating back to 2010, that had barred Roach from having direct contact with Senate staff.
Roach was sanctioned in 2010 after an internal investigation found she had created a hostile work environment by berating a Senate attorney, Mike Hoover. Her caucus sent her a letter noting she’d violated Senate workplace policy “on numerous occasions” dating to 1998.
As a result of the investigation, Roach was banned from the Republican caucus and barred from direct contact with staff and counsel. Roach disputed those allegations as well.
The caucus first softened its position on Roach last year when Republicans took control of the Senate budget, with the help of three conservative Democrats. Roach was allowed back into the caucus shortly before that happened.
Then when Republicans took control of the Senate this year, the Facilities and Operations Committee removed all remaining sanctions. The GOP gained power with the votes of 23 Republicans – including Roach – and Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.
Asked recently if she would have dropped out of the Republican-led coalition if the sanctions weren’t lifted, Roach said, “When everyone is the 25th vote, everyone needs to be satisfied.”
January 29, 2013 at 5:55 PM
OLYMPIA — Wildlife advocates and ranchers — some wearing their hats – filled the room as members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Parks discussed four bills Tuesday on wolves and the threat they can pose to livestock.
Two of the bills would allow legalize the killing of wolves of cases where lifestock is threatened, the other two would require the state to pay for losses if a wolf kills or injures livestock.
Senate Bill 5187 and Senate Bill 5188 are sponsored by Sen. John Smith, R-Colville. The first would allow private citizens to kill wolves if livestock is threatened, and the other would allow county officials to kill wolves if livestock is threatened. Smith said the bills aren’t intended to declare open season wolves, but to protect private property and pets, which he referred to as family members.
“If we awoke one night to hear our family dog being attacked by wolves, I would have no choice but to just listen to the dog being ravaged,” Smith said.
Members of Washington Cattlemen’s Association spoke in favor of the bills, but members of wildlife-advocacy groups argued that shooting wolves contradicts the management plan outlined by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Mitch Friedman, director of Conservation Northwest, said the plan, which allows for wolves to be killed only in extreme situations, was put in place for a reason and should be followed.
“Wolves aren’t angels or devils,” Friedman said. “They can respond favorably to management techniques.”
Senate Bill 5079 and Senate Bill 5193 were met with less polarized opinion, with groups such as the Washington Cattlemen’s Association speaking in support. SB 5079, sponsored by Rep. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, would allocate $50,000 a year from the state general fund to pay for livestock losses. SB 5193, sponsored by Smith, would do the same with funds from the Department of Fish & Wildlife. Smith’s bill would also establish a program for people could buy wolf license plates with the proceeds going toward non-lethal wolf management.
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