State Senate's bipartisan majority hopes to legislate from the middle
Political observers wondering which political party would control the state Senate have an answer: both parties. More or less. Democratic state Sens. Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch joined Republicans Monday to launch a new majority coalition caucus promising to lead from the political middle.
This is promising. Republicans will chair six committees, including two of the most important: K-12 education and the panel that controls the state budget. Democrats will control another six committees and the parties will share power on three others.
Andy Hill, a Republican senator from Redmond, will chair Ways and Means and Republican Steve Litzow of Mercer Island will chair the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. As this Times editorial noted, Reform-minded, independent leadership on education policy is especially critical under the state Supreme Court's McCleary v. Washington mandate to raise state support for education
The balance of power question had to be resolved. Tom and Sheldon were among three Democrats who teamed up with Republicans last session to seize control of the Senate. But they could not wage a coup every session.
Taking control is one thing. Wielding it effectively is quite another. Republicans will need to start soon offering smart proposals on education funding and transportation to name a few of the pressing issues facing the Legislature.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics