Power Change in Senate Marks Day 1 in Olympia
Today the Washington state legislature convened in Olympia for its 105 day regular session. All 98 members of the House of Representatives were sworn in as were 25 members of the State Senate.
Once the initial festivities were over, the state Senate proceeded to shift its power base. If you have been paying attention to Washington state politics for the last couple months you will know that two moderate to conservative Senators, Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom, essentially formed a coup with the 23 Senate Republicans to form a “majority coalition caucus” leaving their 24 Democratic colleagues in the lurch. The majority coalition has offered to share chairmanships (while retaining the most powerful ones). Links to the respective Senate caucuses can be found here.
Checking each caucus page will give you a flavor of how each side is taking this rather unprecedented shake up in the traditional power structure.
Opening Day in the House of Representatives had no such drama as the Democrats are firmly in control with 55 members to 43 in the Republican caucus. Rep. Reuven Carlyle, began as the chair of newly formed House Finance Committee, which will focus strictly on revenue and tax issues. The committee received briefings on the state revenue picture (brightening) and Gov. Gregoire’s final budget proposal.
Regular legislative updates will be provided in this column, focusing on tech industry priorities such as higher education, K-12, STEM and business/tax issues.
Lew McMurran is the Vice President of Government & External Affairs for WTIA. He is responsible for and directs the Washington Technology Industry Association’s lobbying and advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal level working with elected officials, educational institutions, business and civic associations.
He has achieved successful outcomes on a wide range of issues for WTIA including K-12 and higher education, intellectual property, internet safety, e-commerce, economic development, technology procurement, taxes, telecommunications and broadband, trade, digital media and video game content, personality rights, privacy and others.