29 03, 2016

Senate passes reasonable budget, much still left behind

March 29th, 2016|Radio|

Despite passage of the supplemental operating budget in the Senate on Tuesday evening, Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, says that the budget still leaves a lot behind. (TRT: 0:59) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


Following the passage of a supplemental operating budget, Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson of Maury Island shared her thoughts on the $38.2 billion budget deal.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island: (TRT: 0:34) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This is a reasonable supplemental budget. There is additional funding for mental health, for addressing the crisis at Western State Hospital, but regretfully, it leaves a lot behind. We need further investments in K-12 education. This really focused on charter schools instead of our other million school kids. Additionally, for homelessness, which our caucus has been fighting for, we had the opportunity to take money that’s sitting in the bank, it’s called the Rainy Day Fund, and use it to invest in housing and support services for the homeless. The Republican Majority wouldn’t do so.”

The supplemental budget passed in the Senate 27 to 17 with 5 members excused. The Senate has adjourned and is not expected to be back in session until January of 2017.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

29 03, 2016

Nelson: Despite budget deal, work on education is far from over

March 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson on Tuesday issued the statement below following the passage of the supplemental operating budget and the completion of the 2016 legislative session:

“From Day 1, Senate Democrats laid out their priorities – education funding, ending the cycle of poverty and homelessness for thousands of Washingtonians and building a Washington that works for all.

“By staying focused on these priorities we were able to make significant strides to close the educational opportunity gap, block Senate Republican attempts to cut mental health programs and services to the elderly, blind and disabled, and ensure there were increased funds for state hospital staff, mobile crisis teams and additional mental health treatment beds.

“What is disappointing however, is that our work took too long – and really it is far from done. Since Republicans took over the Senate, we have averaged an extra 47 days to do the one task the Legislature is required to do – write a budget. Ideology has too often trumped compromise, and as a result it has taken far more effort than it should to do the work Washingtonians sent us here to do.

“I am proud of how hard Democrats fought for top priorities in this year’s budget. I am proud of how focused we stayed on these priorities, even as Senate Republicans used precious time on political grandstanding, including staging a public firing of the state’s top transportation official and mismanaging an expensive investigation that quickly lost credibility.

“We did some good work in 2016. But frankly we had an opportunity to lay the groundwork for real progress in advance of what will be a very difficult session next year – there is going to be a reckoning in 2017.”


11 03, 2016

Nelson: Senate Republicans start backing away from “irresponsible” budget

March 11th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson issued the statement below following the latest Senate Republican budget proposal that backs away from devastating cuts to mental health, and other critical state services:

“I’m pleased to see that Senate Republicans have now agreed with us.

“They have agreed with us that it is irresponsible to balance a budget by cutting mental health.

“They’ve agreed with us that it is irresponsible to make ends meet by raiding pensions dedicated to retired police, fire fighters and teachers.

“They have agreed with us that it makes no sense to raid other critical programs to pay for wildfires when the state’s Rainy Day Fund exists for these exact moments.

“Democrats in the House, Senate and the Governor have said from the start we would not support a budget written in such an irresponsible manner. Now Senate Republicans are finally starting to come around.

“There are still several disappointments in this budget. We must keep our promises to child care providers, and to the most vulnerable Washingtonians. We must do more for education and more to help our state’s homeless.

“We also must continue to negotiate in good faith. I have to ask, why wasn’t this offer made three days ago? Why did Senate Republicans go silent on Tuesday only to re-emerge late last night with an announcement that Ways and Means would meet today?

“The Senate Republicans were the only ones who knew anything about this budget until just a few hours ago – that is not transparent government.

“I hope the Senate Republicans will now work with us to finish our business.”

10 03, 2016

Sen. Jim Hargrove announces retirement after 32 years of state service

March 10th, 2016|Radio|

After 32 years of service to the state, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam has decided to retire. (TRT: 1:45) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


On the final day of the 2016 regular Legislative Session, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam announced his decision to retire after more than 32 years of service to the state.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 14) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “When I first came to the legislature, Cherberg was the Lieutenant Governor. I served with John O’Brien in the House and when I came to the Senate, I have a picture up in my office coming down the center aisle and shaking hands with Irv Newhouse. So, I’ve been here awhile.

Hargrove in his speech then went on to thank staff, his colleagues, and detailed the highlights of many policies he worked to pass.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 22) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “The most important is the Becca legislation. I think we have had incredible success reducing juvenile crime, keeping kids out of prison, helping kids get on with their lives. I am also very proud of the mental health legislation we did that gave the local option and for finally gonna be combining mental health and drug and alcohol treatment through the BHOs by April 1st.”

In a show of deep respect, nearly every member of the Senate stood and spoke in honor of the leadership, friendship and principles he exhibited throughout his extensive legislative career. Gov. Jay Inslee also made a special appearance in the Senate chamber and spoke of Hargrove’s dedication to the least among us.

Hargrove, a long-time, champion of the human services offered this final heartfelt advice to his colleagues:

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 10) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “So I implore you to remember the poor, disadvantaged, and the ill. The developmentally disabled and people that really you are their voice here.”

Hargrove served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1985 to 1992 and has served the people of the 24th and the State of Washington in the Senate since 1993.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.



8 03, 2016

Supplemental transportation budget passes Senate

March 8th, 2016|Radio|

The Senate passed the supplemental transportation budget on Tuesday evening, 44 to 5. (TRT: 0:60) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


The Washington State Senate on Tuesday evening passed an $8.6 billion dollar Supplemental Transportation Budget that will continue to support investments to our state’s public infrastructure system. Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens was the lead negotiator for the Senate Democrats.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens: (TRT: 0:18) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This budget has a lot of good things in it. Many projects that help economic development across the State of Washington, and on our side of the aisle, many of the things we fought for are in here. There’s always been a lot of needs out there for transportation. But, overall, if you look at the supplemental transportation budget it’s a good bill.”

Project highlights include funding for road preservation, our state ferries, storm water and fish passage barriers, additional rail services between Seattle and Portland, pay increases for state troopers, 405 tolling improvements, and more.

The Senate passed the supplemental transportation budget 44 to 5. It will now go to the House of Representatives before heading to the governor’s desk.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

1 03, 2016

Washington Voting Rights Act gains momentum

March 1st, 2016|Radio|

Sen. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle and Sen. Cyrus Habib of Bellevue voiced their support to a packed room of supporters of the Washington State Voting Rights Act after it was moved to the Senate floor calendar on Tuesday. (TRT: 1:28) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Organizer and Group: (TRT: 0:07) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “Power to the people! With fair representation! Power to the people! With fair representation!”

A group of over 120 supporters of the Washington Voting Rights Act packed a Senate Hearing room on Tuesday to voice their support of House Bill 1745, the Washington Voting Rights Act. The House of Representatives has passed the bill out of the chamber four years in a row – and each year it has stalled in the Senate. Sen. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle has worked with her Republican counterparts to address concerns with the bill.

Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D- Seattle: TRT: (0:26) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “We have compromised, we have cooperated, we have negotiated – that’s all part of the process. But now it is time to vote. We need the bill to come to the floor. We need to be able to have a vote on it. If people want to vote it down, then vote it down. At least let us know where we stand on this bill. This is not just good policy or good politics, it is the right thing to do.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Voting Rights Act was moved to the Senate floor calendar – a move that puts it one step closer to being voted on. Sen. Cyrus Habib of Bellevue, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate:

Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue: TRT: (0:16) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “We know gerrymandering is a problem, but there’s nothing worse than gerrymandering that has a racial dynamic to it, and this bill is going to change that. And, with your help in the next nine days, we’re going to make sure the Senate passes the Washington Voting Rights Act, we get it to the governor’s desk and we start having a role in drawing maps and winning elections.”

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.