Monthly Archives: March 2016

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    Nelson: Lack of progress means “there is going to be a reckoning in 2017”

Nelson: Lack of progress means “there is going to be a reckoning in 2017”

March 29th, 2016|

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 one, 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.”

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    Nelson: Pleased GOP has backed away from “irresponsible” budget demands

Nelson: Pleased GOP has backed away from “irresponsible” budget demands

March 11th, 2016|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson on Friday issued the statement below following the decision by Senate Republicans to back away from the cuts and cost shifts that riddled their previous attempt at a supplemental operating budget:

“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 have finally come around.

“There are still 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.”

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    Senate Republicans block yet another opportunity to prevent massive schools cut

Senate Republicans block yet another opportunity to prevent massive schools cut

March 10th, 2016|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson released the statement below following yet another Senate Republican rejection of a bill to prevent a $462 million cut to Washington’s public schools:

“I wish I knew why Senate Republicans continue to reject the idea of giving Washington’s one million school kids and their teachers the certainty that they won’t face a massive funding cut?

“The idea we are trying to pass originated with a Republican-sponsored bill.

“The House bill received nearly unanimous support in that chamber and was passed out of the Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee on an 8-1 vote on Feb. 25.

“During the operating budget debate on Feb. 26, an amendment to include this idea in the budget received 25 votes, but failed because of a Senate Republican rule requiring 60 percent to pass a budget amendment.

“Where were those 25 votes today? Where was the original sponsor who originally supported this idea? Where were the four Republicans who voted this out of committee or the three that voted for this idea just 16 days ago?

“We spent a lot of time today talking about education in the context of charter schools. I hope that the bill passed by the Senate today helps these kids.

“It is time for us to talk about Washington’s one million school kids. It is well past time for us to address their needs, their schools and their education.”