Topic: Steve Hobbs
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April 17, 2013 at 3:21 PM
OLYMPIA – The state House voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to approve a compromise version of a bill aimed at prohibiting businesses from asking job applicants and employees for passwords to social networking sites like Facebook.
The bill, which has been hotly debated this legislative session, is one of dozens of efforts taking place in legislatures across the country to address an emerging issue.
“We have a clear problem, but we do have a solution,” said Everett Democrat Mike Sells, who chairs the House Labor & Workforce Development Committee.
The compromise version, negotiated between business groups and civil libertarians, would protect applicants and employees from being forced to disclose log-in information, change viewer settings, “friend” their bosses or otherwise allow employers to see their accounts.
It would, however, not stop businesses from asking to look at employee accounts as part of a specific set of investigations, including to see if the employee gave out proprietary information.
“This amendment has accomplished the impossible (in finding middle ground),” said state Rep. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney.
A version of that provision caused an uproar.
Senate sponsor Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, approves of the compromise, according to a spokesman, signalling it could get through the upper chamber.
Wednesday is — theoretically — the last day for non-budget-related bills to pass out of both chambers of the Legislature.
That rule is sometimes skirted if the bill is deemed crucial for a final budget deal. But it is an important marker in the session, which is scheduled to end April 28.
April 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM
OLYMPIA — The Washington Education Association has apologized to state Sen. Steve Hobbs after the teacher of one of Hobbs’ sons left a negative flier at the senator’s house.
The flier accused Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, of “ignoring his duty to reduce our kids’ crowded classrooms” and urged residents to contact him.
A group of teachers knocked on more than 1,000 doors in Hobbs’ district, talking to residents and distributing the flier, said union spokesman Rich Wood. Those doors included Hobbs’, and the teacher of his son knew the senator lived there, Wood said.
The union has been targeting Hobbs in recent weeks because he voted with a mostly-Republican coalition for a set of bills that would introduce more accountability and reliance on test scores into schools. The union believes lawmakers should be focusing on responding to a state Supreme Court order to lower class sizes and increase school funding.
But in a voicemail left for Hobbs, the union apologized.
Hobbs then sent out a recording of the voicemail to reporters.
“I accept their apology in the hope that this is the start of a new era of cooperation between us,” Hobbs said in an accompanying statement. “We don’t see eye to eye on every aspect of education, but our fundamental goal is the same –- we both believe we must fully fund education in our state.”
April 1, 2013 at 5:00 PM
OLYMPIA — One of the most contentious social issues of the 2013 legislative session won’t get a vote in the state Senate Health Care Committee, the chairwoman announced Monday afternoon.
The so-called Reproductive Parity Act, which narrowly passed the Democrat-controlled state House on a party-line vote in February, would require health-insurance plans to cover abortions.
Supporters released a letter earlier Monday, signed by a majority of the chamber, saying they have the votes to pass the bill in the Republican-run Senate, too — if leadership would bring it up for a vote.
Following a heated two-hour hearing in the Health Care Committee, chairwoman Randi Becker said she won’t.
“The fact is that at this point, House Bill 1044 is a solution in search of a problem,” said Becker, R-Eatonville, in a statement. “Even advocates of the bill admit that there is no need for the bill today as every health insurer in the state of Washington provides for abortion coverage.”
While that’s true now, supporters of the bill note there’s uncertainty about how the federal health-care overhaul, and restrictions on abortion funding, might affect abortion coverage in the future.
In a statement, Democratic state Sen. Karen Keiser said after the bill didn’t get a vote at the hearing that “unfortunately this is not an April Fools joke —- I wish it was —- a woman’s access to reproductive health care is no laughing matter.”
March 6, 2013 at 12:56 PM
OLYMPIA — The state Senate narrowly approved two contentious education policy bills Wednesday after a heated debate.
The bills, to give A-F letter grades to schools and to give principals a veto in teacher placements, are top Republican priorities but are strongly opposed by Democrats.
The letter grades passed 26-23, while the principal veto passed 27-22 — both largely along party lines. State Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, opposed the first bill but supported the second.
The bills, each sponsored by Senate education Chairman Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, will now head to the Democrat-run House, where passage is far less likely.
Senate Bill 5328, the grading bill, is touted as a way to give parents more information and pressure schools to improve. Opponents view it as a dangerous oversimplification.
Senate Bill 5242, the teacher-placement bill, is meant to giving principals more power and prevent poor-performing teachers from being passed from school to school. Opponents say it would making arbitrary personnel moves easier.
Before the final vote, Democrats proposed several amendments to each bill. When those failed, they spoke repeatedly against the proposals.
“Giving letters makes great headlines,” said state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, on the first bill. “It doesn’t actually make great policy.”
“What are we doing here?” asked state Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, on the second bill. “What are we doing here? This is inbalancing the relationship between teachers and their supervisors.”
Echoing a Democratic refrain, Conway added he’s “not willing to support reform bills until we fund our schools.”
State Sen. Steve Hobbs, one of the four Democrats who voted for the bills, said policy changes and funding increases can be achieved.
Republicans said accountability for schools is key.
“We live in a country where anyone willing to work, anyone willing to make sacrifices, can rise from failure and achieve success,” said state Sen. John Smith, R-Colville. “And measuring that success is one of the most victorious and empowering things that a culture can do.”
More floor votes on education policy bills are expected this afternoon.
February 22, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Unlike in two previous sessions, it looks like lawmakers this year will not significantly change the way public-school teachers are evaluated.
Senate Bill 5246, this session’s major proposal dealing with teacher evaluations, did not get approved at the last Senate education committee meeting of the week on Thursday night.
Today is technically — with some exceptions — the last day for non-budget-related bills to make it out of a committee if they are to have a chance this session.
Senate Bill 5246 was meant to build on last year’s historic law, which made student test scores a part of evaluations. The new bill would have mandated that test scores make up 50 percent of the evaluations.
It was sponsored by Senate education chairman Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, and had the backing of Democrats Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens. But while the bill got a hearing Feb. 4, Litzow never scheduled it for a vote.
It is not unprecedented for teacher-evaluation bills to come back to life after the cut-off — it even happened last year.
But Senate Republicans have said they are prioritizing other policy bills.
January 10, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Although Senate Republicans vowed not to get bogged down by social issues in the upcoming legislative session, a big one is primed to smack them in the face.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, plans to reintroduce legislation that would require health-insurance plans covering maternity care to also pay for abortions. The Legislature goes into session on Monday.
More interesting, though: The measure, called the Reproductive Parity Act, is co-sponsored by Republican state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island. In addition, Sen. Rodney Tom, who’s expected to be the new Senate Majority Leader starting next week, also supports the measure.
In case you missed the recent political machinations in the Senate, Republicans are expected to take control on Monday with the help of Tom, D-Medina, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, who will caucus with the GOP.
Under this arrangement, Tom will get the top spot as majority leader. Tom and other members of his caucus have said everyone agreed not to let social issues distract the Legislature from focusing on jobs, education and passing a budget.
This could test that promise. Tom and others downplayed the prospect of discord.
“You are going to see individual members do what they want to do, but what we have said is, we’re not going to let social issues divide our focus,” Tom said. “I’m fully supportive (of the measure) and still will be supportive, but we’ll see how others react to it.”
Litzow took hits during his re-election campaign for voting against the measure last session in the Senate, after it had already passed the House. Litzow says he’s always supported the legislation but voted against it last year, because it got tied up in a complicated procedural move on the Senate floor when the GOP took control of the budget.
“This is a bill that I think is important. I’ve supported this bill. I think it’s about reproductive justice,” he said. “I want to bring the issue up.”
July 19, 2012 at 8:15 AM
A new 1st Congressional District poll, by the consultant firm Strategies 360, shows the race tightening as ballots are being mailed this week, with Democrats Darcy Burner and Suzan DelBene virtually tied.
Republican Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, who also ran for Congress in 2010, should easily advance past the Aug. 7 primary, with 36 percent of voters in the poll. Despite being a name brand of the Snohomish County GOP since 1994, 35 percent of voters said they recognize him.
Scant polling in the redrawn 1st District has generally shown Burner, a progressive activist who ran for Congress in 2006 and 2008, leading, including a double-digit lead over four Democratic rivals in a June 1 poll by Survey USA. But this poll — phone interviews of 500 likely voters on July 15-17 — shows Burner with 12 percent and DelBene at 11.
DelBene, who has self-financed her campaign by $1 million, has saturated TV with ads on the theme of economic fairness. The spending seems to have given DelBene momentum. Burner has said she doesn’t plan to air TV ads, but just sent a thick magazine-style flier this week.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs is holding at 7 percent. The big loser in this poll appears to be Laura Ruderman, whose mother made news and headaches for her by funding a PAC to attack DelBene. She sank from the June poll and is now at 3 percent.
Here are the toplines and crosstabs. On quick read, a couple of interesting items: Burner has more name recognition than Koster among voters, but also has the highest unfavorable ratings. Also, the poll asked voters for positive-negative views of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. In a district designed to be a 50-50 swing district, Obama had 49 percent favorable, 46 unfavorable; Romney had 46-46.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percent, with 95 percent confidence level. Strategies 360, a Democratic-leaning consultant shop, did the poll independently, NOT hired by any campaign.
July 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Suzan DelBene dropped $1 million of her own money into campaign, giving her a huge edge in advertising spending as a host of Democrats jostle toward toward the Aug. 7 primary in the hot 1st Congressional District race.
FEC quarterly reports filed this weekend, which cover fundraising and expenses April through June, show fellow Democrat Darcy Burner, a progressive activist, raised $178,119 in the past three months, much of it in small donations via the Act Blue online network. Laura Ruderman, a former state legislator, raised $128,926, but has the most cash-on-hand.
The campaign, the most-watched among the state’s Congressional campaigns, took a nasty turn with anti-DelBene mailings last week by a group we know was funded by Ruderman’s mother. Here is a post on that.
DelBene, a former Microsoft vice president, was expected to self-finance her run as she did in a 2010 run against Rep. Dave Reichert. In addition to her $1 million, DelBene took in $182,572 from other contributors. Her campaign reports spending $728,000 on TV ads and about $240,000 on six mailed pieces.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs, the centrist Democrat from Lake Stevens, hadn’t filed his report as of this morning. Darshan Rauniyar, a businessman and first-time candidate, raised $30,562, with support from his Nepalese countrymen.
John Koster, the only Republican in the 1st District race, raised $115,120 this quarter, and $428,579 toal. He has mostly stayed out of the fray, and is expected to easily advance to the November general election, but has a relatively small amount of cash on hand: $115,632.
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