Archive for Democrats

Senate Democrats ‘fair and balanced’ rule proposal fails on floor

By | March 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

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:

Senate Democrats to seek new rule on ‘fairness and balance’

By | March 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

This post has been updated with comments from the Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mark Schoesler.

Senate Democrats plan to ask for a new rule calling for “fair and balanced” hearings, after raising concerns about equity in hearings in the Senate Commerce and Labor committee, Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, said Monday.

Sen. Sharon Nelson

Sen. Sharon Nelson

Nelson spoke at a Democratic leadership press availability on Monday morning. The rule could be introduced later this week.

Nelson said Democrats are concerned that representatives 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.

“We feel that it’s important that both sides of an issue be heard. In particular, in Commerce and Labor, that’s not happening,” Nelson said.

Nelson said that Democratic leadership has approached the Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus leadership regarding the fairness issue.

“Only one side is pretty much being allowed to testify and the others are cut short,” Nelson said. “That’s not what the public expects from this institution.”

Baumgartner declined to comment on the question of whether Commerce and Labor is being run fairly.

However, Majority Leader Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said Monday that he has reminded the committee chairs to “pay attention the needs of the minority.”

“The Labor committee has always been contentious,” Schoesler said. “Let’s be real, they didn’t propose any fairness doctrine when they were in the majority.”

Schoesler said the Republicans did not try to propose a similar rule when they were the minority party.

“We understood the majority controlled the agenda,” Schoesler said.

A fairness rule would be patterned after 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 simple majority of Senators would have to approve the rule change.

The Senate rules have seen a change this year; the first day of session, Senate Majority Coalition Caucus introduced a rule that any new taxes would have to be approved by two-thirds of the chamber. The rule was approved by a majority, but later overturned by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

TVW taped the press conference. We will post it here when it is available.

Bills fall by the wayside after mid-session cutoff

By | March 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

While some bills made it through the halfway point, and will continue to be considered, other bills have fallen by the wayside.

Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters on Thursday that he was disappointed that a bill limiting vaccination exemptions did not make it to the House floor for a vote. He said the Department of Health will find “new, creative ways” to get information about vaccines to parents this year, and he hoped to see the bill return next year.

Doug Reuter, the father of the namesake of Joel’s Law, told AP that he was hoping to see lawmakers pass House Bill 1450, which would have expand the criteria for involuntary treatment.

House Republicans posted a list of bills the caucus was following. Dead bills listed in the House Republicans’ “good” category include House Bill 1446, which would have permitted certain restaurant employers to pay 16- and 17-year olds less than minimum wage; and House Bill 1741, which would have allowed disabled people to enter state land without a Discover Pass.

Senate Democrats also released a listed of dead bills that its caucus had backed. The list included Senate Bill 5752, regarding creating statements of impact on ethnic and racial minorities for bills affecting criminal justice, human services, and education, and Senate Bill 5527, which would have extended the deadlines for voter registration.

We also asked on Twitter what bills people wished made it through.

Live from the Capitol: TVW’s opening day show starts 10 a.m. Monday

By | January 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Washington State Legislature’s 2015 session begins Monday, Jan. 12. Opening ceremonies start at noon, but tune in to TVW early to catch exclusive interviews with lawmakers, who will discuss key issues for the coming months.

Starting at 10 a.m., The Impact’s Anita Kissee will host the live show from the Capitol rotunda. Gov. Jay Inslee will stop by to talk about his budget proposal and more.

Guests include House and Senate leadership from both sides of the aisle, including Senators Sharon Nelson, Mark Schoesler, Andy Billig, Linda Evans Parlette and Representatives Dan Kristiansen, Pat Sullivan, Joel Kretz and Eric Pettigrew.

Hear about key issues including education, transportation and mental health from Senators Jeannie Darneille, Doug Ericksen, Curtis King, Steve Litzow, Rosemary McAuliffe, John McCoy and Steve O’Ban, plus Representatives Judy Clibborn, Hans Dunshee, Richard DeBolt, Cary Condotta and Sharon Wylie.

We’ll also get insight about the session from Capitol reporters Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review and Jordan Schrader from The News Tribune.

TVW will carry gavel-to-gavel coverage of opening ceremonies beginning at noon.

Stay tuned to TVW throughout the session for coverage of the state Legislature. Starting opening day of session, Legislative Review will air nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m. “The Impact” airs Wednesdays at 7 and 10 p.m. and Inside Olympia with Austin Jenkins is Thursdays at 7 and 10 p.m.

Governor Inslee proposes capital gains tax to fill budget gap

By | December 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

 

Gov. Jay Inslee says it’s time to “buck up” and invest in the state of Washington. He’s recommending a new capital gains tax to help close a $2 billion dollar gap in the next two-year budget.

“It is time to reinvest in our state and this budget does that,” Gov. Inslee said.

The Governor released his 2015-17 budget proposal Thursday. The $39 billion plan is a combination of cuts to current programs and new revenue. The focus is on four key areas: stronger schools, healthier kids, cleaner air, and a fairer tax system.

“There is one simple fact: we cannot balance this budget and educate our children on cuts alone.”

In addition to the charge on carbon polluters unveiled earlier in the week, Gov. Inslee proposes a seven percent capital gains tax on money made from the sale of stocks and bonds above $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for joint filers. It would begin in 2016 and is estimated to raise $800 million dollars in the first biennium.

“This is a tax on fewer than one percent of Washingtonians,” the Governor explained.  “For those folks who have retirement accounts, stock in those accounts when they sell that stock, there will be zero capital gains on that.”

The Governor says Washington’s capital gains tax would be less than similar taxes in Idaho, Oregon and California.  Also exempt is money earned from the sale of homes, farms, and forestry.

“This is not intended to show any lack of respect for those who would pay under this proposal. We honor success in Washington. In fact, we treasure it, but we always have to push for fairness.” The Governor later explained why he believes a capital gains tax is a better option over a sales tax increase. “It would be unfair to working families in this tough economy, where you have such incredible income inequality, to put more tax burden on working families. I believe, in this circumstance where we’ve had such wealth creation in this state… That giving a beginning teacher, or a person who’s making $500,000 selling stocks and bonds, at this point we outta ask that wealthier person to step up to the plate.”

Among the other ideas on the list of new revenues, Gov. Inslee wants five tax breaks repealed, the state cigarette tax increased by 50 cents a pack, a new tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products, and a tax on bottled water.

Those new revenues add up to $1.4 billion dollars.

Given the size of the budget shortfall and the State Supreme Court mandate on McCleary, the Governor says statewide cuts are also needed. His budget proposal includes $211 million in General Fund spending cuts. Another $212 million was found by shifting General Fund costs to other fund sources and maximizing federal funds.

“The fact of the matter is we have made reductions of $12 billion dollars since the recession started. We have already slashed mental health way past the bone. We’re in the arteries.”  Governor Inslee said as a result the courts have held the state in contempt. “The point is this recession has put us $1 billion dollars in the hole, and we have slashed to the bone and now we’re looking into the cartilage to the tune of about $400 million dollars.”

The largest chunk of Gov. Inslee’s budget is dedicated to schools. He wants to spend $18.2 billion in order to meet McCleary. That would include money for smaller K-3 classes and full-day kindergarten for all students across the state.

Social and Health Services would get $6.4 billion. Washington colleges and universities would be allocated $3.4 billion, but in-state undergraduate tuition would be frozen.

When asked whether he changed his tune from the 2012 campaign when then-candidate Inslee vowed not to raise taxes: “The combination of the legislature not closing these loopholes… and increasing demands in education and mental health, we simply have not been able to generate the revenues necessary to provide vital services to Washingtonians. I have hoped to avoid this route. I have tried to avoid this route, but we now have an obligation to our children. They oughta have a first class education. It is a duty of ours and I intend to fulfill it.”

Immediately following the Governor’s news conference, the Senate Republican’s chief budget writer issued a statement. Sen. Andy Hill (R – Redmond) said, “Investing in student achievement and providing essential services should not depend on risky tax schemes that threaten our economy. Educating our children, caring for those in need and supporting our local economy demands thoughtful, bipartisan budget leadership. Tax increases should be the last resort, not the first response.”

You can see more of the details of the Governor’s 2015-17 budget proposal here.

You can also hear more from Governor Inslee’s budget director, David Schumacher.  He is the  guest on this week’s “Inside Olympia.”

Governor Jay Inslee to Release Entire Budget Proposal Thursday

By | December 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Governor Jay Inslee will release the entirety of his proposed 2015–17 biennial budget on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

TVW will carry the event live, both on TV and on our website.

Here’s the link to watch it live from your computer.

House Democrats Announce Committee Leadership

By | December 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

After reorganizing House committees for the next biennium, Democrats announced Wednesday who will be leading those committees.

The list is as follows:

·       Agriculture and Natural Resources: Rep. Brian Blake (Aberdeen), chair; Rep. Kris Lytton (Anacortes), vice-chair

·       Appropriations: Rep. Ross Hunter (Medina), chair; Rep. Timm Ormsby (Spokane), vice-chair

·       Business and Financial Services: Rep. Steve Kirby (Tacoma), chair; Rep. Cindy Ryu (Shoreline), vice-chair

·       Capital Budget: Rep. Hans Dunshee (Snohomish), chair; Rep. Derek Stanford (Bothell), vice-chair

·       Commerce and Gaming: Rep. Chris Hurst (Enumclaw), chair; Rep. Sharon Wylie (Vancouver), vice-chair

·       Community Development, Housing, and Tribal Affairs: Rep. Sherry Appleton(Poulsbo), chair; Rep. June Robinson (Everett), vice-chair

·       Early Learning and Human Services: Rep. Ruth Kagi (Lake Forest Park), chair; Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (Seattle), vice-chair

·       Education: Rep. Sharon Santos (Seattle), chair; Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (Everett), vice-chair; Rep. Chris Reykdal (Tumwater), vice-chair

·       Environment: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (Burien), chair; Rep. Strom Peterson (Edmonds), vice-chair

·       Finance: Rep. Reuven Carlyle (Seattle), chair; Rep. Steve Tharinger (Dungeness), vice-chair

·       General Government and Information Technology: Rep. Zack Hudgins (Tukwila), chair; Rep. Tana Senn (Mercer Island), vice-chair

·       Health Care and Wellness: Rep. Eileen Cody (West Seattle), chair; Rep. Marcus Riccelli (Spokane), vice-chair

·       Higher Education: Rep. Drew Hansen (Bainbridge Island), chair; Rep. Gerry Pollet (Seattle), vice-chair

·       Judiciary: Rep. Laurie Jinkins (Tacoma), chair; Rep. Christine Kilduff (University Place), vice-chair

·       Labor: Rep. Mike Sells (Everett), chair; Rep. Mia Gregerson (SeaTac), vice-chair

·       Local Government: Rep. Dean Takko (Longview), chair; Rep. Mia Gregerson (SeaTac), vice-chair

·       Public Safety: Rep. Roger Goodman (Kirkland), chair; Rep. Tina Orwall (Des Moines), vice-chair

·       State Government: Rep. Sam Hunt (Olympia), chair; Rep. Steve Bergquist (Renton), vice-chair

·       Technology and Economic Development: Rep. Jeff Morris (Mount Vernon), chair; Rep. Gael Tarleton (Ballard), vice-chair

·       Transportation: Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island), chair; Rep. Jessyn Farrell (Seattle), vice-chair; Rep. Jake Fey (Tacoma), vice-chair; Rep. Luis Moscoso (Mountlake Terrace), vice-chair

You can find the entire list of House Democratic committee assignments on their website.

 

Categories: Democrats, WA House

House Democratic Leaders Reorganize Committees

By | December 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Democrats have a new structure for House committees for the 2015 legislative session. Some committees have been canceled, others added, and some of the remaining will have new names and roles.

According to a document given to House members, there are now 21 committees instead of 23. The committees canceled include the appropriations subcommittees on education and the one on health and human services, along with the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.

There is a new committee being formed to deal specifically with issues related to marijuana and gambling. It’s called the Commerce and Gaming Committee. The description on the document: “The House Commerce & Gaming Committee considers issues relating to commerce in alcohol, tobacco and cannabis and issues relating to the regulation and oversight of gaming, including tribal compacts.”

Also new next session, a State Government Committee. It will take over the ethics, campaign finance and other state agency issues often heard by the Government Operations and Elections Committee.

There is a new name and focus for the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology. It’s no longer considered a subcommittee and will address issues of state government, LEAN management, and audits.

The new Labor Committee has a shorter name. The Workforce Development part was dropped from that committee and moved to the Higher Education Committee.

To read the House committee descriptions: 2015-16 committee issue areas (2)

Legislative Year in Review

By | March 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

On this special one-hour edition of “Legislative Year in Review,” we recap the highlights from the 2014 session — from opening day to Sine Die. The show includes debate over issues such as the Dream Act, minimum wage, gun control, abortion insurance bill, death penalty, mental health, teacher evaluations, taxing e-cigarettes and the supplemental budget. Plus, a quick wrap-up of several of the bills that passed this year. Watch the show below:

Live in Olympia: TVW’s Sine Die show starts at 8 a.m. Thursday

By | March 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Washington’s legislative leaders will adjourn the 2014 session Thursday, unless a special session extends the deadline. But before they go back to their districts TVW will air back-to-back live interviews with more than 20 lawmakers starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Anita Kissée reporting live from the capitol rotunda for TVW's special edition mid-session show Feb. 18.

Anita Kissée, host of The Impact, will sit down with Gov. Jay Inslee, House Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan and House Republican leader Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Other guests include Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island. The lawmakers will talk about a range of issues from education to the capital budget to the environment.

Plus, Austin Jenkins, host of TVW’s “Inside Olympia” and reporter for the Public Radio Northwest News Network, and Brian Rosenthal, a state government reporter for The Seattle Times, will stop by to talk about some highlights from the past 60 days and what to expect when the election process begins.

Coverage will be here on the blog, and you can watch live on TVW or via webcast.