November 20, 2017
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Senate Democrats release committee leadership list after switch of party control



With a 25-24 majority going into the next legislative session, a result of the special election victory of Manka Dhingra, Senate Democrats have announced their leadership and committee membership, including chairs and vice chairs. A full list is here.

“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.”

Nelson, who has served as minority leader, will become majority leader of the Senate. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, will serve as deputy majority leader, with Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, as majority caucus chair. A full list of party leaders is here.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, will chair the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee. Other committee leaders, in alphabetical order are:


  • 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)


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Continue Bipartisan Successes


One-party rule in Olympia should not end bipartisan effort

By Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville

The election this month of Democrat Manka Dhingra to represent the people of the 45th legislative district changes the landscape of the Washington state Senate, resulting in a return to one-party rule in Olympia.

However, it does not have to change the bipartisan way in which the Legislature has operated since a group of Democrats joined with Republicans in 2013 to govern by consensus, ushering in unprecedented achievements.

For the past five years, the bipartisan Majority Coalition Caucus controlled the Senate, while Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and governor's mansion. For measures to pass, members of both chambers had to debate, negotiate and compromise.

This process resulted in the passage of historic legislation, such as the first-ever college-tuition reduction, a $16 billion transportation package and a plan to fully fund basic education with equitable levy reform...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Legal Maneuvers


Be watchful of Seattle's income tax

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

In July, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to impose an income tax on its wealthiest citizens, knowing full well the decision would end up challenged in court.

That apparently was part of the strategy.

By spurring debate, advocates for the Seattle income tax hope to reverse historical precedent and open the door so other communities can follow Seattle's lead.

If that were to happen, it's reasonable to think the next step would be an effort to impose an income tax statewide. That's why we should be watching this issue closely.

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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