Senate Democrats’ proposal to introduce a rule for “fair and balanced” committee hearings failed on the floor along party lines Wednesday, 23-25 with one absence.
Minority Leader Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, introduced the proposal on the floor.
In a statement to reporters last week, she said Democrats are concerned that speakers on both sides on an issue have been unable to testify at committee hearings, particularly in the Commerce and Labor committee, headed by Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane.
However, Majority Leader Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, told The Capitol Record that he believes the rule is unnecessary, and made similar comments on the floor on Wednesday.
Senate Republicans all voted against the measure. The one absent vote was Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, who caucuses with the Republicans in the Majority Coalition Caucus.
The rule would have been similar to a House of Representatives rule that lawmakers say has been in place for several years.
Under Rule 24, second D, 11, the House rules state, “Insofar as practicable, testimony in public hearings should be balanced between those in support of and in opposition to proposed legislation, with consideration given to providing an opportunity for members of the public to testify within available time.”
The parties continued the debate over Twitter:
WA GOP doesn't want fair & balanced hearings? Dems tried 4 rule change so ppl who come from far away get to testify.Democracy anyone? #waleg
— Pramila Jayapal (@pramilaj) March 25, 2015
— Majority CoalitionWA (@WashingtonMCC) March 25, 2015