Archive for WA Senate

Gov. Inslee responds to Senate firing of WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson

By | February 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

DSC_0874Gov. Jay Inslee criticized Senate Republicans on Monday for ousting Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson, describing the rejection of her confirmation as an “election year stunt” for which Republicans should be “ashamed.”

On Friday afternoon, the Senate voted 21-25 not to confirm Peterson three years after she was appointed to the position by the governor. She has already left her post and the agency is currently being led by Deputy Secretary Roger Millar.

Watch the governor’s press conference here.

At the press conference, Inslee criticized specific legislators, including Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Sen. Curtis King and Sen. Andy Hill, R-Kirkland, saying they had taken part in a “political ambush.”

“Senator Hill and other Senators could have talked to Secretary Peterson about any concerns they had,” Inslee said. “They did not. They chose to sandbag her on the floor on a Friday afternoon.”

Inslee said King has previously praised the transportation secretary, then was silent as he watched “his colleagues take her head off on a Friday massacre.”

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler never raised concerns about Peterson either, Inslee said, even during a discussion about WSDOT data last week.

“I asked him to provide us any information he had that he was concerned about,” said Inslee. “He just shrugged it off.”

Inslee said that Friday was an obvious “gross abuse” of the confirmation process and it was “built on a totally false narrative.”

He said that it wasn’t a unique situation and the Senate Republicans were doing the same with their investigation of the Department of Corrections. DOC Secretary Dan Pacholke resigned on Saturday afternoon.

“The Senate Republicans are out of control at this moment,” Inslee said. ”It’s my job to work around this.”

At a press conference on Monday, Senate Republicans responded to Inslee’s harsh comments.

Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, said the Senate’s vote should not come as a surprise, given people across the state are “dissatisfied” by the transportation department’s actions.

“I think that it’s almost an open secret in this town that many people were dissatisfied with Department of Transportation and her leadership,” he said. “This has been building as long as I’ve been here.”

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Tacoma, said that is comes down to people having confidence in WSDOT.

“We entrusted to that department, at the close of the last session, $15 billion worth of projects,” O’Ban said. “And it was the beginning of this session we had to ask ourselves ‘Do we have the confidence in this department head to manage those projects?’ Those projects are so crucial to our state and it was the conclusion of the caucus that we did not have that confidence. So we needed to make that change as soon as we could.”

Senate Republicans said they were surprised by Pacholke’s resignation, and they plan to move forward with their investigation into why the DOC mistakenly released 3,200 prisoners early over 13 years. O’ban said the Senate has already received complaints — including some anonymous tips — submitted through a website created for the Senate investigation, www.fixdoc.org.

“This investigation of the Senate has given a voice to Department of Correction employees, who for a long time have been concerned about upper management,” O’Ban said. The Senate Law and Justice Committee will have an update on the DOC investigation during Wednesday’s 6:30 p.m. hearing.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D- Maury Island, also commented on Friday’s Senate vote at a press conference on Monday. She said their actions were dramatic and it could lead to other agency heads questioning their future.

“When you do something like that you destabilize an agency,” she said. “Because there’s an element of fear and concern in the way it was done.”

Senate votes to remove WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson

By | February 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Republican-majority Senate voted to dismiss Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson from her position Friday by not confirming her three years after she was appointed to the job by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Lynn Peterson

Lynn Peterson

The Friday afternoon vote was 21 to 25, with Democrats voting to confirm and Republicans, along with one Democrat who caucuses with the GOP, voting to remove her.

Inslee criticized the move, saying it was a display of partisan politics by Senate Republicans. “They engaged in a politically-motivated attack on an eminently qualified woman,” Inslee said in a statement.

Republican Sen. Andy Hill spoke on the Senate floor about his frustration over issues with the new I-405 express tolling lanes, describing the situation as “abysmal.”

“This is a very, very serious decision. But I have no confidence that the agency is in a position to fix the problems they have without a change at the top,” Hill said. 

Sen. Cyrus Habib, a Kirkland Democrat, said problems with tolling and Good to Go passes are the fault of lawmakers.

“Those are not issues created by an administrator,” he said. “Those were issues put in place by us and by our predecessors here in the Legislature.”

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, defended Peterson, saying she stepped up quickly when the I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed in 2013. “She made sure that bridge was rebuilt under budget and faster than anyone predicted,” he said.

“It is shameful that this body would consider not confirming such an incredible and tireless champion for mobility and public safety in Washington state,” Ranker said. 

Republican Sen. Don Benton said the Skagit bridge collapse was the fault of transportation department. “Why did that bridge fail? The bridge failed because the department issues oversize load permits without verifying the routes that those oversize loads are going to take,” he said. 

Benton said the vote was “not about a lovely lady who is working over at the Department of Transportation,” but about holding people accountable for competence in government.

Watch TVW video of the entire floor debate here.

Categories: transportation, WA Senate

Proposal would use $300 million from “rainy day” fund to combat homelessness

By | February 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

Senate Democrats announced a bill Thursday aimed at addressing what they describe as a homelessness “crisis” in Washington.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, announces the Bring Washington Home Act at press conference on Feb. 4

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, announces the Bring Washington Home Act at press conference on Feb. 4

Supporters call the bill the “Bring Washington Home Act,” and it would spend nearly $300 million on services and housing for homeless people in Washington. It’s sponsored by Senate Democratic Minority Leader Sharon Nelson, along with 21 other Democratic co-sponsors.

Watch TVW video of the press conference here.

The bill spends $281 million — of which $186 million would come from the Budget Stabilization Account, commonly referred to as the state’s “rainy day fund.” The account was created to help the state get through emergencies and recessions. It is expected to have over $700 million in it by June 2017.

“The Bring Washington Home Act is a holistic approach to homelessness. It uses existing money sitting in the rainy day fund and invests in people and families that are homeless or in danger of being homeless,” Nelson said. “This is money that’s sitting in the bank.”

It takes a three-fifths vote to use funds from the rainy day account, which would require another seven votes to get out of the Senate. Then, the House would also have to approve it by a three-fifths vote. Nelson said Senate Republican leadership has continually said they don’t want to dip into that fund.

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R- Ritzville, was quoted as disagreeing with Sen. Nelson’s proposal to use the rainy day fund, calling homelessness “her emergency.”

Nelson said she was “taken aback” by the comment. “This isn’t about me.” she said.

“There’s an outcry in the state,” she added. “And if the Republicans just want to say ‘No,’ that’s shameful.”

Republican Sen. Mark Miloscia, Federal Way, said he agrees that homelessness is an emergency, citing several bills he’s involved in this session that address the issue. However, he says using the rainy day fund isn’t the way to approach it.

“We might as well just burn the $300 million on the Capitol steps,” he said.

Miloscia said that “throwing money” at the emergency or at existing programs will be a “complete failure.” He agrees they need to invest, but not until existing programs are managed more effectively. He said the state needs to start changing the way they deliver services to homeless people.

Nelson said the bill was modeled on other successful programs, such as the Utah Housing First program.

The act would pay for rapid rehousing, emergency shelters and behavioral health shelters. Funding would also go toward youth programs. Approximately $86 million would go into a new account, called the Homeless Assistance Account, and the rest would go into the existing housing trust fund for construction and maintenance of housing. The announcement with the full funding breakdown is available here.

The bill would also fund the Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act under a different bill, Senate Bill 6298, which is sponsored by Sen. David Frockt, D- Seattle. That bill would create a grant process to identify homeless students and providing housing for them.

Those speaking at Thursday’s press conference pointed to recent numbers that show a sharp increase in the homelessness across the state, including a 9 percent jump in homeless students.

“These are our sons and daughters that are out there, they’re going to school to our other sons and daughters,” said Julio Cortes with Snohomish housing non-profit Cocoon House.

“We’re not asking for handout, we’re asking for an investment. An investment in our kids, an investment in our communities, an investment in our neighbors,” Cortes said.

Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby also spoke about the impact homeless people have on public spaces in Olympia, particularly downtown.

Nelson said that regardless of the outcome this session, she would continue to pursue the issue.

“This is not a one time shot,” she said. “As a mom, I’m just not going to let this go.”

Senate hears from public on plan that sets 2018 deadline for funding education

By | February 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Senate Ways and Means Committee heard public testimony this week on the Senate’s education funding plan, which has a later deadline than a House funding plan to fix the state’s problem with an overreliance on school levies.

Nearly all those who testified were opposed to Senate Bill 6195, which requires legislative action to be taken by 2018 to “reform” school district levies. That’s in contrast to the House education funding plan, which calls for eliminating reliance on levies by 2017.

Watch TVW video of the hearing here.

Ben Rarick of the State Board of Education testified in opposition to the bill, saying it doesn’t strengthen an education funding plan that was already “pretty weak to begin with.” He said at this point, it may not matter if the bill is passed or not.

“When the court imposed $100,000-per-day fines and found the Legislature in contempt, we thought that that would generate a sense of urgency coming into the short session,” he said.  “At this point, we would urge you to not pass the bill, or to go back and pass something that truly is a robust response to what we know are the needs of our system.”

Care Maree Harper testifying in opposition to Senate bill.

Care Maree Harper testifying in opposition to Senate bill.

Care Maree Harper, president of Endeavour Elementary School Parent Teacher Student Association in Issaquah, commended lawmakers for “working toward a solution.”

But she still spoke in opposition to the bill, saying schools need the funding now. She said her son’s school relies on outside funding for basic items.

“This year alone, our PTSA has given over $35,000 to our school for items that should be part of basic education funding,” she said. “And that includes over $17,000 for an early reading and intervention program.”

She said those items should be part of the state’s basic education funding, but instead they came out of the “pockets of the parents.”

Charlie Brown with the Puget Sound Schools Alliance testified as “other” at the hearing. He told members if they adopt this bill, they should also adopt a another bill that delays a decrease in the levy lid by another year.

“We would ask you to move the levy cliff by that one year so it’s consistent with the work that you all will be doing as you move forward on trying to resolve the McCleary decision,” he said.

He said failure to act on the so-called “levy cliff” will impact districts across Washington to the “tune of about $92 million.”

Categories: Education, TVW, WA Senate

Senate committee passes education funding bill with different deadline than House version

By | January 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee voted to advance an education funding bill Thursday that has a different deadline than a version approved by the House.

The Senate bill passed on a on 5-4 vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

Watch TVW video of the executive committee here.

Earlier this week, the House passed an education funding bill that matches recommendations from a bipartisan task force. That bill requires the 2017 Legislature to come up with a way to end the state’s overreliance on local school levies.

The Senate committee on Thursday passed its own version of bill, amending it to change that deadline to 2018.

Read the amendments here.

“It’s disappointing to me that we have now adopted an amendment on this bill that not only wasn’t agreed to, but wasn’t even discussed in a bipartisan way,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, who voted no on the revised bill.

Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said the amendment is part of a process that can be messy. “As we move forward, we shouldn’t forget where we came from,” she said, adding that the Legislature has met every deadline it has set.

“There’s still a long way to go to get it done, but I am firmly committed to the idea that one way or another we are going to get this done,” she said.

Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, said it’s typical to go “back and forth a while to make sure we have an agreement in both bodies on both sides of the aisle.” He said he’s confident the Legislature will meet the 2018 deadline.

Litzow noted that the House amended its version too.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the amendments made by the House were bipartisan, while the Senate amendment is a “really big deal.”

“The underlining bill that we had before us was a carefully crafted piece of legislation that kept everybody at the table,” she said. “This amendment significantly weakens it. Many of us have been uncomfortable with the weakness of the underlining bill and this just takes it one step further in terms of lowering the bar.”

Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, voted yes on the bill, saying the changes are “quite negligible.”

Senate Early Learning & K12 Education Committee

Senate Early Learning & K12 Education Committee

He said he’d prefer to be voting on a solution to the levy problem this year. “This is a far cry short of where we should be at this point,” he said.

The bill now moves to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

At a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee said that he remains “optimistic” that lawmakers will come together to fund public schools. He said that it is imperative that the Legislature finds a solution in 2017.

“The requirement is that the money be there for our schools in the 2017-2018 school year,” he said. “That is the date, the IOU if you will, to our children and to accomplish what needs to be done in the 2017 session.”

He added that he understands “that this is a heavy lift for legislators” and that he’s “undaunted.”

Categories: WA Senate

Hundreds attended public hearing on transgender bathroom bill

By | January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

When Kathryn Mahan was five-years-old, she knew she was different than other boys. She eventually joined the Army to leave town because she said she was treated like a “freak.”

“It was awful,” she said. “I just wanted to follow the rules and be a good kid, but they taught me to hide by ridiculing me and lecturing me.”

Mahan said she “couldn’t hide it” any longer and became transgender five years ago. She asked lawmakers to consider her situation and not let Senate Bill 6443 pass.

The bill would reverse a rule enacted by the Washington State Human Rights Commission in December. That rule requires public buildings to allow transgender individuals to use restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.

“If you pass this bill, it will be possible for anyone who doesn’t like me to harass me while I’m using the bathroom,” Mahan said.

Supports of the bill–wearing stickers that say, "keep locker rooms safe."

Supports of the bill wait to testify. They’re wearing stickers that say, “Keep locker rooms safe.”

Supporters of the bill say the rule should be reversed because it opens the opens the door to pedophiles and traffickers in women’s restrooms and locker rooms.

Kaeley Triller Haver told the committee she’s a rape survivor, and locker rooms were already hard for her to go into. Now, she’s even more worried about deviant men that could use this rule to “declare their right based on gender identity.”

“There’s not a single place of public accommodation in the state where I can now be free of this concern,” she said.
“I’ve spoken to hundreds of other survivors who tell me I’m not alone.”

Michael Gordon, a detective who specializes in sexual assaults, said that locker rooms are vulnerable places that sexual predators can take advantage of women and children.

He said if the rule isn’t repealed, bathrooms could become a “feeding ground” for predators.

Prime sponsor of the bill Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, said that he believes parents have a right to expect that their children will go into a bathroom or locker room shared by other children of the same gender. He also said the Human Rights Commission rule has too many flaws.

“An issue of this magnitude needed more public discussion,” he said. “There shouldn’t be a statewide rule like this.”

Nearly 300 hundred people signed in to testify. Senate Commerce and Labor Committee chairman Michael Baumgartner said that was the most people he’s seen sign in to testify issue in his six years in the Legislature.

An equal number of supporters and opponents testified on the bill during the time Baumgartner allotted for the hearing. (more…)

Categories: WA Senate

Tribes push for bill they say would give them better dental access

By | January 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Several tribal members asked lawmakers Monday to pass a bill that would allow dental health aides to treat patients on tribal land. The measure is opposed by some dentists who say the aides may not have sufficient education or training.

Watch TVW video of the hearing here.

Members from the Squaxin Island Tribe, Colville Tribe, Makah Tribe and Suak-Suiattle Indian Tribe testified in support of Senate Bill 5159 at a hearing Monday of the Senate Health Care Committee.

The bill was compared to a program in Alaska that trains and certifies dental health aides to practice limited dentistry under the supervision of a dentist within the tribe. Some aides can practice off-site, or away from the dentist.

The dental aides are “certified to practice without the direct supervision of a licensed dentist for procedures such as oral exams, preventative dental services, simple restorations, stainless steel crowns, and x-rays,” according to the bill.

The certification requires a high school diploma, graduation from a two-year educational program and a 400-hour clinical preceptorship under the supervision of a dentist.

The prime sponsor of the bill, Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, criticized the “long continuous process” of the bill, saying this was the eleventh time he has brought the bill to the Legislature.

“We are in dire need of access to the tribe throughout Washington State,” he said. “We took a hard look at the Alaska model, and the Alaska model is working. I find it difficult to understand why there’s so much opposition for Washington State over the years.”

He emphasized that the dental aides would not be working on their own, but under the supervision of a dental team and dentists. He said that a tribe in Swinomish “had to invoke their tribal sovereignty and start a program.”

But not all tribes have that ability. “There are some tribes that lack resources so they wouldn’t be able to do it by themselves,” McCoy said.

Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, said that the Alaska program makes sense because there is great distance between patients and dental care.

“The Washington reservations don’t have that distance that’s required and my concern comes back to a liability issue,” Angel said. “If a problem came up does the liability then come back to the tribe or to the dentists?”

McCoy responded saying it would be structured so aides are working in a medical facility of the tribe, which has medical director.

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 4.33.43 PMBrian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Tribe said the reason that this bill is necessary is because of federal 2010 legislation.

“The Indian Health Care Improvement Act was passed, providing health care for tribal members across the nation and the American Dental Association snuck a sentence in that bill,” Cladoosby said. “That one sentence said if any tribes in lower 48 want to have a therapist program, they have to come and get the blessing from Olympia.”

Cladoosby talked about the importance of recognizing sovereign nations and the treaty of the Swinomish Tribe.

“I’m a sovereign nation and I would hope that each and everyone of you here would recognize my sovereignty and I hope each and everyone of you here would recognize that for me to have to come here year after year –this is my sixth year now — coming saying ‘please give us this program,’ it is not right,” he said. (more…)

Categories: TVW, WA Senate

Senate passes charter school bill, 27-20

By | January 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

A bill to keep charter schools open in Washington passed off the Senate floor Wednesday over objections from several lawmakers who say the state should be focusing on its McCleary obligation to fully fund public schools.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled last year that charter schools do not qualify for public money from the general fund because they are not “common schools” governed by an elected school board.

“This bill agrees with that ruling,” said Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, the prime sponsor of tvwminidocs2Senate Bill 6194.

The bill changes the definition and funding source of charter schools to comply with the court. Charter schools would no longer be defined as “common,” and they would be paid for by the Lottery-funded Washington Opportunity Pathways Account.

We have to make sure that those kids in charter schools have the opportunity to get the education that everybody does,” Litzow said. “This is one step there.”

Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, also urged passage of the bill, saying it will give certainty to charter school students who want to stay in their schools. “These are real students with real families,” he said. 

Opponents of the bill say the state should not be prioritizing charter schools at a time it is facing an education funding crisis in its public schools.

“We can’t substitute a solution for 1,200 kids in charter schools when we haven’t had a real discussion about how we address the one million kids around the state,” said Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D- Seattle.

Democratic Sen. Bob Hasegawa of Seattle said the bill “sends the wrong message” on the first day of floor action in the Senate. He said charter schools are draining public money to provide a “private benefit to a select few.”

The bill passed with a vote of 27-20 and now heads to the House for consideration.

Watch TVW video of the floor debate here.

Categories: Education, WA Senate

Senate committee votes in favor of subpoena resolution related to DOC error

By | January 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Senate Law and Justice Committee will issue two subpoenas to the Department of Corrections and the Governor’s office for records related to the mistaken early release of 3,200 prisoners. This comes after the Rules Committee approved a resolution authorizing subpoena powers on a 13-7 vote on Tuesday evening. Lt. Gov. Brad Owen signed the subpoenas.

Watch TVW video of the Rules Committee here.

The error was a result of a coding miscalculation in the DOC electronic records system dating back to 2002. Gov. Jay Inslee has hired two retired federal prosecutors to conduct an independent investigation into why the problem wasn’t fixed sooner.

Sen. Mike Padden

Sen. Mike Padden

At a meeting of the Senate Law and Justice Committee earlier Tuesday, Republican chair Sen. Mike Padden urged members to support the resolution that was sent to the Rules Committee. He said the governor has an obligation to investigate, but “that doesn’t mean we have to defer to the governor.”

“We as legislators have an independent obligation separate from the governor,” he said. “We are a co-equal branch of the government.”

Padden said the committee’s investigation would differ from the governor’s because it would be a public process with people speaking under oath. He said the subpoenas would initially only seek documents related to the error, but it could later compel witnesses to testify.

Republican Vice Chair Sen. Steve O’Ban was critical of the governor’s investigators, saying they do not plan to record interviews with DOC employees.

“This is why we need public testimony to establish those facts so that those employees are on record and they can’t later change their view,” he said.

O’Ban said he asked the investigators if requesting documents and conducting a review would interfere with their investigation, and they said no.

Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D­–Seattle, voted against the committee resolution, saying that subpoena powers should be used sparingly and only when necessary.

“I believe that the governor’s office and the Department of Corrections have cooperated substantially with us and there’s no reason to believe that is about to stop,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen said he’s concerned that using subpoena power will impede the governor’s investigation.

“I’m worried that moving forward with this process earlier then when given the results of the investigation, that there’s the potential to cause the witnesses to believe they need to lawyer up and be less forthcoming,” he said.

Sen. David Frockt, D–Seattle, also voted against the resolution. He expressed confidence in the governor’s investigation and said it should completed during the legislative session.

“I think that once this investigation is complete, that will give us a window into what actually transpired,” Frockt said. “I think that our legislative oversight power can best be exercised subsequent to the investigation.”

Republican Sen. Pam Roach said in 27 sessions with the Legislature, “I have never seen this done before.” She said she believes it’s a process that’s important for Washingtonians to see.

“This is a part of our system that allows the state of Washington to actually provide checks and balances,” she said.

Sen. Kirk Pearson, R–Monroe, also supported the resolution, saying in the 16 years that he’s been in office there have been five DOC secretaries. It’s time to take a good look at the DOC, he said.

“Transparency makes for good government,” he said.

Watch TVW video of the Senate Law and Justice hearing here.

The subpoenas will be sent to the Governor’s office and DOC this week. Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith released a statement after the resolution passed saying their office will continue to provide documents.

“The fact is, Senate Republicans are planning to issue subpoenas for the exact same documents we’re already processing and providing to them from earlier requests,” she said. “There is no information to be gained through a subpoena that isn’t already available to them through normal public records procedures.”

Republican response to Gov. Inslee’s State of the State

By | January 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 10.38.36 AMRepublican Sen. Jan Angel of Port Orchard responded to Gov. Jay Inslee’s State for the State on Tuesday, saying she agrees with steps made toward education, transportation investment, “unlocking family wage jobs,” and progress on the mental health system. Watch the TVW video of her response here.

“These huge strides came hand-in-hand with a recovering economy,” she said. “That’s why we resisted the governor’s efforts to create new taxes which would only strangle a reviving economy.”

Angel criticized the governor’s supplemental budget plan, which calls for spending additional money hiring and retaining teachers.

“Every year, the governor seems to ignore state laws that require our budgets to balance over four years,” she said. “Sending a wish list of spending ideas to the Legislature without a sustainable way to pay for them fails to accept the reality of governing.”

She concluded with saying the Republicans will focus this year on restoring charter schools, maintaining a long-term budget and refusing new taxes.

Republican leaders also commented on the governor’s speech at a press conference.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said this is the first time he’s seen a governor politicize the State Investment Board. Inslee asked the board to exercise its voting authority to reduce the widening pay gap between CEOs and workers.

“I hope that the independent members of the State Investment Board dismiss this as election year politics,” Schoesler said. “We need to stick to investing and stay out of politics.”

Schoesler also took aim at the governor’s plan to hire as many as 7,000 new teachers, saying Washington schools are only producing about a 1,000 teaching graduates each year. “Even if we did have the money, they may not be readily available,” he said.

House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen addressed the mistakes that lead to the early release of over 3,00 prisoners, saying that there needs to be accountability. He claimed that information provided by the governor’s office shows that two governor’s administrations knew about the DOC computer error starting in 2002 and 2012.

“The information that we received was that it was made known to administration in 2002,” he said.

The governor’s spokeswoman Jaime Smith responded to the claim,  saying “The King decision in 2002 was when DOC made the original changes in their system. I’m not sure if/what prior Administrations knew about the sequencing error resulting in the miscalculation, but our understanding is that 2012 is when the victim’s family brought it to DOC’s attention. We were aware of it last month.”

Watch Republican press conference here.