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15 11, 2017

Senate Democrats choose Brad Hendrickson as Secretary of the Senate

November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Brad Hendrickson, a veteran of the Legislature with more than 30 years of service to the state, was nominated unanimously this week by Senate Democrats to serve as the next Secretary of the Senate.

Hendrickson’s candidacy still must be approved by a majority of the Senate. A vote of the body will take place once the Senate reconvenes.

“I’m excited to return to my old home in the Senate and look forward to serving the institution I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson, 57, first came to the Senate as an intern during his junior year of college in 1982. He returned the following year as a legislative liaison for Western Washington University. In 1985, Hendrickson served as a legislative aide in the House. Since then he’s held a variety of positions in areas such as systems and research analysis, as Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Democratic Caucus (SDC) and Director of Accounting and Human Services. He also served a total of 16 years as Deputy Secretary of the Senate beginning in 1993. Most recently, Hendrickson served as Director of Policy and Legislative Relations for the State Treasurer.

“We are so fortunate to have someone with Brad’s extensive legislative knowledge and experience fill this most important role,” said Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson. “Brad’s intimate understanding of the history, tradition and rules of the Senate make him a perfect fit. We are lucky to have him.”

Sarah Bannister will serve as Hendrickson’s Deputy. She began her legislative career in the House before joining the SDC in 2000. Bannister has served on the Secretary’s administrative staff since 2010.

13 11, 2017

Democrats appoint committee chairmanships following switch of Senate control

November 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Democrats in the state Senate on Monday announced new committee structures, members and chairmanships following a switch in control of the Senate from Republican to a Democratic majority.

“We have a great, knowledgeable team ready to get to work for the people of this state,” Senate Leader Sharon Nelson said. “Our chairs and committee members are passionate about moving Washington households forward. They are also dedicated to good government and are firm in their belief that the committee process serves as a platform for people to interact and be heard by their representatives in Olympia.”

Committee chairs and vice chairs are listed below in alphabetical order. See the chart below for the complete list of committee members:

• Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks – Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (Chair); Sen. John McCoy (vice chair)
• Economic Development & Trade – Sen. Maralyn Chase (Chair); Sen. Dean Takko (vice chair)
• Early Learning & K12 Education – Sen. Lisa Wellman (Chair); Sen Christine Rolfes (vice chair)
• Energy, Environment & Technology – Sen. Reuven Carlyle (Chair); Sen. Guy Palumbo (vice chair)
• Financial Institutions & Insurance – Sen. Mark Mullet (Chair); Sen. Bob Hasegawa (vice chair)
• Health & Long Term Care – Sen. Annette Cleveland (Chair); Sen. Patty Kuderer (vice chair)
• Higher Education & Workforce Development – Sen. Kevin Ranker (Chair); Sen. Guy Palumbo (vice chair)
• Human Services & Corrections – Sen. Jeannie Darneille (Chair); Sen. Manka Dhingra (vice chair)
• Labor & Commerce – Sen. Karen Keiser (Chair); Sen. Bob Hasegawa (vice chair)
• Law & Justice – Sen. Jamie Pedersen (Chair); Sen. Manka Dhingra (vice chair)
• Local Government – Sen. Dean Takko (Chair); Sen. Guy Palumbo (vice chair)
• State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections – Sen. Sam Hunt (Chair); Sen. Patty Kuderer (vice chair)
• Transportation – Sen. Steve Hobbs (Chair); Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (vice chair)
• Ways & Means – Sen. Christine Rolfes (Chair); Sen. David Frockt (vice chair /Capital Budget lead)

13 11, 2017

Senate Democratic leadership posts switch from minority to majority

November 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Following the results of the 2017 election and a shift in the Washington State Senate from Republican to Democratic control, leadership within the Senate Democratic Caucus will continue mostly unchanged.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, will be Senate Majority Leader, having served as Minority Leader since 2014.

“We have a great team in place, one representative of Washington’s values and its diversity and one that cares deeply about the people of this state,” Nelson said. “Our entire caucus is ready to get back to work and is humbled by this opportunity.”

The Senate Democratic Leadership team is as follows:

• Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Vashon Island, Majority Leader
• Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, Deputy Majority Leader
• Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, Majority Caucus Chair
• Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, Majority Vice Caucus Chair
• Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, Majority Floor Leader
• Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, Assistant Majority Floor Leader
• Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, Majority Whip
• Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, Assistant Majority Whip
• Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, President Pro Tem
• Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, Vice President Pro Tem

16 08, 2017

Nelson: “Washingtonians will continue to fight every day for a world of inclusion and against a world of division”

August 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson issued the statement below on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus in the wake of the racist violence in Charlottesville, VA and the unacceptable and inadequate response from the president:

“Washingtonians will continue to fight every day for a world of inclusion and against a world of division.  Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK, the alt-right and hate groups of every stripe are outnumbered not just in our state but in our nation. We shouldn’t have to denounce these people – their actions and words do that. But absent leadership from the top rungs of our national government, it is imperative for anyone with even a small platform to stand up and say that we will not accept racism, anti-Semitism and hate in our country and our state.

“We will not be intimidated. We will continue to move forward together. We will continue to fight for a world of inclusion and speak out against hate – even when leaders in the other Washington won’t.  We will fight for the Washington Voters Rights Act.  We will fight for our friends and families — regardless of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, their religion, the address at which they live.

“We honor the memory of Heather Heyer and the people who were injured in the racist violence in Charlottesville and we send our love to their families.  We, as Washingtonians, will not accept that racism and bigotry is our country’s new normal. There is nothing normal about what’s happening at this moment in our history.

“Washingtonians will stand up to prejudice in all its forms – whether it comes cloaked in white hoods or originates from this White House — and we will lead that effort.”

20 07, 2017

Nelson: Senate GOP failure on Hirst and capital budget mar otherwise positive outcomes for Washington

July 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson issued the statement below following the conclusion of the 2017 legislative session:

“Almost without exception, the 2017 legislative session was a victory for Washington.

“There were major victories in terms of record investments in education, the establishment of the most progressive paid family leave program in the nation and a budget that protects the most vulnerable among us and invests in our state’s shared priorities.

“I had hoped we could end on a high note and pass a capital budget and a fix to the Hirst water issue. Unfortunately for every Washingtonian, Senate Republican leadership ensured neither issue would be resolved.

“Senate Republicans will defend the indefensible. They will continue to manufacture a narrative that links Hirst to the capital budget that simply doesn’t exist. The fact of the matter is this was a sloppy attempt at political hostage taking with no plan on what to do beyond the initial kidnapping.

“Senate Republican leadership bungled this from start to finish and the people of this state ended up without solutions to urgent problems throughout their communities. No capital budget, no Hirst solution, only excuses from Senate Republicans.”

19 07, 2017

Democrats, Republicans reach agreement on capital budget

July 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, released the statement below following a four-corner agreement on a Capital Budget:

“On Tuesday afternoon, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate reached agreement on a full capital budget. This is great news for job creation, mental health improvements, environmental protection and investments in communities across our state.

“But perhaps most importantly, this agreement will invest more than $1 billion in school construction throughout Washington.

“We can vote on this bill tomorrow before the third special session ends.  I ask that the bill be brought up for a vote.  I suspect it will have unanimous or near unanimous support.  It is time to get to yes on all remaining issues and bring our work for 2017 to a close.”

21 04, 2017

Nelson: Senate Republicans – “Grow up and govern”

April 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson on Friday issued the statement below following a Senate Republican move to change their own two-thirds tax rule to hold an intentionally doomed vote on two tax bills with two days left in session:

“Senate Republicans need to do their job.

“They dragged their feet on releasing a plan to fund our schools. They continue to refuse to negotiate a budget. Now with two days left in session they change their own rule to bring tax bills to the floor they have no intention of voting for.

“What a tremendous waste of time. Senate Republicans should be embarrassed and I’m embarrassed for them.

“Come to the negotiating table. Work on behalf of the people of this state. Show a sense of urgency or at the very least some interest in doing some good for Washington.

“Stop the stunts. Stop the obstruction. Start doing your jobs.

“Grow up and govern.”

8 03, 2017

Nelson: “Now that we have passed the levy cliff bill, it is time to continue our work to fully and fairly fund education”

March 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson released the statement below following the long-awaited passage of the levy cliff bill:

“I’d like to thank all of the students, teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, PTA members and everyone who worked tirelessly to finally convince Senate Republicans to relent and work with us to pass this bill.

“There was almost literally no student, teacher, family or school district that was immune to the potential devastation a $358 million cut would have had. Today I’m happiest for them.

“Now that we have passed the levy cliff bill, it is time to continue our work to fully and fairly fund education.

“Senate Democrats are completely dedicated to solving this issue and making sure that all 1.1 million students in our state have access to a world-class education.

“I hope Republicans will join us in this endeavor and resist the urge to reach this goal by relying entirely on billions of dollars in property taxes and devastating cuts.

“Let’s fully and fairly fund education in a way that benefits the most Washingtonians.”

 

6 03, 2017

Nelson: “There are 24 Democrats ready to pass the levy cliff. We need one Republican to join us”

March 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson issued the statement below on the Senate Republican’s decision to adjourn rather than bring the levy cliff bill to the floor Monday:

“There are 24 Senate Democrats ready to vote ‘yes’ to pass this bill. We need one Republican to join us.

“One.

“Rather than let a vote happen, rather than see if there is one single Republican out there ready to pass this bill which impacts kids in every corner of our state, Republican leadership decided instead to adjourn.

“We believe there is at least one Republican willing to stand against their party and with students, teachers and families all across Washington.

“I’m calling for Senate Republican leadership to bring the levy cliff bill up for a vote. One way or another, whether it passes or fails, every Washingtonian will have the chance to see with whom you stand – with them or with your party.”

9 01, 2017

Looking forward on education funding

January 9th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Seven months ago, eight lawmakers representing each legislative caucus were asked to examine nine outstanding questions related to the basic education funding problems that remain and make recommendations to the Legislature on what should be done to solve those problems.

The task was clear.

The questions were clear.

The timeline was clear.

The Democrats on this task force answered that call. We did our jobs. The Republicans did not.

After seven long months and countless hours of work, the four Democrats on this task force accepted the challenge and put forth a specific proposal we believe includes the right recommendations that will provide opportunities to learn for every child in this state.

It wasn’t easy. The four of us didn’t agree on everything simply because we’re all Democrats. Concessions were made by all of us because we know the best way forward is through compromise.

The Democrats were ready to share our proposed solutions with Republicans last week expecting that they were ready to do the same and negotiations would begin.
Unfortunately, they literally did not show up for the discussion we all agreed to have.

As a result, instead of adopting a joint set of specific recommendations for the Legislature to consider, or even two sets of specific recommendations from each caucus, this task force is left with one set of specific solutions from the Democrats and a set of guiding principles from the Republicans.

Representing the Democrats on this task force, our goal was to reach a bipartisan consensus on a set of recommendations we could send to the Legislature. Unfortunately, that will not happen because we have not received any specific recommendations from the Republicans.

With a bipartisan agreement no longer an option, Democrats would support the next best option, which would be to adopt the task force materials into the record with the Democratic solutions and Republican guiding principles included.

For reasons still not entirely clear to us, the Republicans will not support this option.

Therefore, because this task force has failed to produce a set of specific recommendations and has failed to support an alternative approach to include the Democratic solutions and the Republican guiding principles, Democrats will not support the adoption of a formal report that is empty of the one thing specifically required in SB 6195 – recommendations and solutions to fully fund education for Washington’s 1.1 million school children.

This vote today will not negate any of the hard work put in by members of this task force, our staff, and the independent consultants. We are proud of the solutions that were developed by our members of this task force, and especially thankful for all the countless staff hours that have been put in to support us.

And we thank the outside consultants who gathered and analyzed the data we needed to be successful and finish the job we were tasked to do and identify solutions to the specific questions in SB 6195.

Regardless of today’s votes, all of the materials, notes, and testimony are available online at leg.wa.gov for members of the media and the general public to read.
Going forward, House and Senate Democrats will continue to work on specific education policy and funding recommendations that we believe are best for Washington’s 1.1 million school kids.

Because at the end of the day, that’s what all this work is about – providing opportunities for every child to learn and reach their dreams.

No more excuses. No more delays. The Legislature needs to fully fund education this session.

That’ll be the primary focus of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses for the next 105 days. We encourage the Republicans to join us in that dialogue when they’re ready to propose specific recommendations.

We welcome our Republican colleagues to the table when they are ready to work together on solutions. We hope those discussions can begin soon for the sake of Washington’s 1.1 million public school kids.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, Ranking Member on K-12 Committee
Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, Deputy Democratic Leader
Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, House Majority Leader
Rep. Kris Lytton, D-Anacortes, Chair, House Finance Committee