29 06, 2015

Senate passes 2015-17 operating budget

June 29th, 2015|Radio|

The 2015-17 operating budget passes in the Washington State Senate. (TRT: 1:13) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD.


On Monday, the Senate passed a $38.2 billion dollar biennial budget that makes much-needed investments in education, restores recession-era cuts to the safety net, and makes higher education more affordable. Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, the lead Democratic budget negotiator, has been working to find a solution that addresses the needs of Washingtonians.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D- Hoquiam: (TRT: 30) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “Well, I think this is a great spending plan from where we started out. I’m thinking back to, uh, an evening here a few months ago where we went through a long and arduous amendatory process on the original budget that left the Senate. You know what? This looks an awful lot like the amendments that I introduced that night when you get through with it. TANF, the CBAs, K-12 comp, the mental health pieces…as far as the spending goes it looks a lot like what we worked on that night and didn’t quite get that. It took us two more months to get there.”

Sen. Hargrove also expressed concern that the state has not addressed its overreliance on property tax levies to fund the education system. The budget passed in the Senate, 38 to 10 and passed in the House 90 to 8. The budget will now head to the governor to be signed before the end of the fiscal year on Tuesday, June 30.

At the state capitol in Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

26 06, 2015

Pedersen: Supreme Court ruling affirms the promise of equality for all

June 26th, 2015|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Today the United States Supreme Court issued its much-awaited ruling on marriage equality across the country.

In a landmark decision that will finally secure marriage rights for all couples, the Court ruled state bans on same-sex marriages across the country unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, effectively granting couples in all 50 states the right to marry.

Washington voters approved marriage equality in 2012.

In response, Sen. Jamie Pedersen issued following statement:

“Because of today’s decision, the relationships of couples and families all across our country will now be legally protected and respected. I am proud of the role that Washington’s legislature and voters played in the rapid and dramatic progress that our country has made toward the promise of equality for all. I’m grateful for the bipartisan support that allowed our Legislature to become the first in the country to repeal a state instituted Defense of Marriage Act.”

Sen. Marko Liias also issued a statement:

“Today, the age-old promise of liberty and justice for all became more real for millions of Americans — including me. This is a historic day for gay and lesbian families. The Supreme Court has affirmed once and for all that our love is just as sacred and deserves equal treatment under the law.”

In recognition of today’s decision, the Tacoma and Seattle communities are hosting events and discussions on marriage equality.


Rainbow Center and Oasis at 5:00 p.m.

March to Union Station Federal Court House

2215 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402


United States District Court at 5:00 p.m.

700 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101

23 06, 2015

WHY DEMOCRATS OPPOSE A SHUTDOWN – Negative impacts on kids, schools

June 23rd, 2015|Uncategorized|

While some services are protected by constitutional or federal mandates, a government shutdown would still hurt people in communities across our state in more ways than you can imagine. Washington children would lose early learning and child care services they count on to help them come to school ready to learn, and school districts may struggle to pay their bills and prepare for the coming school year.

The impact on school districts will vary widely from district to district. Districts without large fund balances may struggle to pay the bills if the state’s July apportionment is delayed. The lack of a state budget will make it more difficult for all districts to determine their own budgets for the coming year.
This will make it harder for school districts to hire new teachers, order new technology, make decisions on new curriculum, finalize staff development programs, secure special education programs, or negotiate with unions. Schools currently under construction will not receive state reimbursements, potentially delaying or suspending construction.

The Dept. of Early Learning will suspend most services, including the Working Connections Child Care Program, which will significantly impact the nearly 30,000 families who rely on WCCC to help pay for child care so that parents can work, search for a job, or complete job readiness activities.
This will affect the child care providers who serve these families. Statewide, there will be only two employees to respond to complaints and emergencies in licensed child care facilities.  A third employee will be on-call. The licensing and inspection of child care facilities will be suspended.

Democrats are committed to avoiding a state government shutdown by passing a responsible compromise budget before July 1, but we can’t do it alone. We call on Republicans to join us in the middle to protect Washington children and families from an unnecessary and harmful shutdown.

— Sen. Andy Billig

19 06, 2015

Compromise budget framework could help avoid a government shutdown

June 19th, 2015|Radio|

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a compromise budget framework that could help create a budget deal and avoid a state government shutdown. (TRT: 38) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

11 06, 2015

Bipartisan lawmakers introduce education finance proposal

June 11th, 2015|Radio|

OLYMPIA – A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Thursday introduced Senate Bill 6130, a bill that establishes a framework to address the state’s need to reduce its reliance on local school levies to pay for basic education. (TRT: 66) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD