Tag Archives: Washington Satate Senate

Washington State Senate Democrats Assign Members to Committees

The Washington State Senate Democratic Caucus has posted their leadership positions and committee assignments for the 2009 Legislative Session on the Washington State Senate Democratic Caucus website.

Because Legislators elected last November do not assume their office until they are sworn in on January 12, 2009, the official state website for the Washington State Legislature http://www.leg.wa.gov/ still currently lists Legislators from 2007 -2008.

This can be confusing since a number of those listed on http://www.leg.wa.gov/ will not be in the 2009 Legislature because they retired or lost election in Nov. 2008. Likewise some Legislators elected for the first time in November 2008 to serve in the 2009 Legislature do not appear on the website until Jan 12, 2008. The list below is for the 2009 Legislature and shows leadership and committee assignments for Democrats who will be in the 2009 Legislature.

Democrats are the majority party in Washington State in both the House and the Senate and hence control the leadership positions and the Committee Chairs.

The 2009 Legislative session will start on Jan.12, 2009 and last for 105 days, until April 26, 2009. The almost $6 billion projected budget deficit will make this a difficult session as vested interests will be competing for a greatly diminished pool of dollars.

Governor Gregoire is opposing any new taxes because of a campaign pledge she made when she was engaged in a tight re-election race with Republican Dino Rossi. Unfortunately this limits her ability to deal with raising revenue to maintain basic needed services.

One option the state needs to look at is revenue lost from past special interest tax exemptions. In a time of budget shortfalls the misery should be spread around and past tax exemptions need to be evaluated as to their current value and priority.

Tax exemptions represent an allocation of potential state revenues and are equivalent to expenditures of funds in the overall budget. If the rest of the budget is taking a 10% cut, for example, it makes sense to also target a 10% reduction in tax exemptions for special interests.

Does it make sense, for example, to give a tax break to soft drink syrup makers or pesticide sales while cutting teacher pay raises? It’s a question of priorities. The Legislature needs to seriously weight the social and economic value of special interest tax breaks versus kid’s health care or education in this time of a serious budget shortfall. Tax exemptions represent revenue lost that could fund basic services. Tough choices need to be made.

2009 Washington State Senate Democratic Leadership positions:

Senate Majority Leader
: Lisa Brown, 3rd District, Spokane
Senate Majority Caucus Chair: Ed Murray, 43rd District, Seattle
Senate Majority Floor Leader: Tracey J. Eide, 30th District, Federal Way
Majority Whip: Chris Marr, 6th District, Spokane
President Pro Tempore: Rosa Franklin, 29th District, Tacoma
Vice President Pro Tempore: Paull Shin, 21st District, Edmonds
Majority Caucus Vice Chair: Debbie Regala, 27th District, Tacoma
Majority Assistant Floor Leader: Joe McDermott, 34th District, Seattle
Majority Assistant Whip: Claudia Kauffman, 47th District, Kent

2009 Washington State Senate Democrats Committee Assignments:

Agriculture & Rural Economic Development :
Chair: Brian Hatfield
Vice-Chair: Kevin Ranker
Mary Margaret Haugen , Ken Jacobsen , Paull Shin

Early Learning & K-12 Education
Chair: Rosemary McAuliffe
Vice-Chair for Early Learning: Claudia Kauffman
Vice Chair for K-12: Eric Oemig
Steve Hobbs, Fred Jarrett, Joe McDermott, Rodney Tom

Economic Development, Trade & Innovation:
Chair: Jim Kastama
Vice-Chair: Paull Shin
Tracey Eide , Derek Kilmer

EDTI International Relations Subcommittee
: Paull Shin
Tracey Eide, Jim Kastama

Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance :
Chair: Jean Berkey
Vice-Chair: Steve Hobbs
Rosa Franklin, Margarita Prentice

Government Operations & Elections:
Chair: Darlene Fairley
Vice-Chair: Eric Oemig
Joe McDermott, Craig Pridemore

Health & Long-Term Care:
Chair: Karen Keiser
Vice-Chair: Rosa Franklin
Darlene Fairley, Chris Marr, Ed Murray, Margarita Prentice

Higher Education and Workforce Development:
Chair: Derek Kilmer
Vice-Chair: Fred Jarrett
Ken Jacobsen, Jim Kastama, Rosemary McAuliffe, Paull Shin

Human Services & Correstions:
Chair: Jim Hargrove
Vice-Chair: Debbie Regala
Claudia Kauffman, Rosemary McAuliffe

Chair: Adam Kline
Vice-Chair: McDermott
Jim Hargrove, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rodney Tom

Labor, Commerce, Research & Development:
Chair: Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Vice-Chair: Karen Keiser
Rosa Franklin, Adam Kline

Natural Resources, Ocean & Recreation:
Chair: Ken Jacobsen
Vice-Chair: Kevin Ranker
Karen Fraser, Jim Hargrove , Brian Hatfield

Chair: Lt. Gov. Brad Owen
Vice-Chair: Rosa Franklin
Lisa Brown, Tracey J. Eide, Karen Fraser , Mary Margaret Haugen, Claudia Kauffman , Karen Keiser, Chris Marr, Ed Murray, Craig Pridemore, Debbie Regala

Chair:Mary Margaret Haugen
Vice-Chair: Chris Marr
Jean Berkey, Tracey J. Eide, Ken Jacobsen, Fred Jarrett, Jim Kastama, Claudia Kauffman, Derek Kilmer, Kevin Ranker, Tim Sheldon

Environment, Water & Energy:
Chair: Phil Rockefeller
Vice-Chair: Craig Pridemore
Karen Fraser, Brian Hatfield, Chris Marr, Kevin Ranker, Tim Sheldon

Ways & Means:
Chair: Sen. Margarita Prentice
Vice-Chair – Capital Budget: Karen Fraser
Vice-Chair – Operating Budget: Rodney Tom
Darlene Fairley, Steve Hobbs, Karen Keiser, Adam Kline, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Joe McDermott, . Ed Murray, Eric Oemig, Craig Pridemore, Debbie Regala, Phil Rockefeller