State Relations

January 14, 2013

Today in Olympia: First Day of Session, Editorials Weigh in on Reinvestment Proposal

The Capitol came alive today with opening day ceremonial activities in both the House and Senate.

Following the swearing in of new and returning members, both chambers moved on to electing their leaders and other business.

In the State House, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) was re-elected Speaker.

In the State Senate, a floor debate unfolded over adopting the chamber’s rules.

Earlier in the day, Senators swapped seating arrangements, in anticipation of a coming power shift.

As was expected, two Democratic Senators Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue) and Tim Sheldon (D-Potlach) joined with 23 Senate Republicans to give the Majority Coalition Caucus control of the chamber.

Leadership of key Senate committees also firmed up, as reported by the Seattle Times.

Three Democratic Senators took up the Majority Coalition Caucus’ offer to chair or co-chair committees:

Sen. Tracey Eide will co-chair the Senate Transportation Committee along with GOP Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima. Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, will chair the Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee and Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond will chair Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development.

In other news, two newspaper editorial boards around the state weighed in on the $225 million reinvestment proposal offered last week that would freeze tuition at the six four-year public universities.

The Kitsap Sun wrote that Higher Education should not be left out of the conversation over education this session:

If we prepare kids adequately in through high school but neglect to answer questions about making relevant degrees more available, college tuition more affordable and programming that addresses all of our economy’s needs, the state will continue falling behind in the future. Our economy may be handicapped nationally by big levers, but drags of our own doing, like failing to prepare workers for industries that will drive recovery, should be inexcusable.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin wrote that the proposal is something that should receive serious consideration and discussion.

The Associated Press also took note of the reinvestment proposal, including it in an article titled: “5 Things to Watch in the Wash. Legislature This Year.”

Stay tuned for more blog coverage this week on committee business! And be sure to follow us on Twitter and like our page on Facebook for more frequent updates.