Senator says he left hearing in protest
A state Democratic senator says he left a key Senate budget-committee hearing on Friday in protest because the House has not moved one of his bills forward, according to a report Saturday.
OLYMPIA — A state senator says he left a Senate budget-committee hearing Friday in protest because the House hasn't moved one of his bills forward, according to a report Saturday.
"Nothing gets noticed unless you rattle the cage a little bit," Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, told The Aberdeen Daily World.
Hatfield had introduced, and the Senate passed, a bill to change the types of biomass accepted as part of a clean-energy law, grandfathering in pulp mills, including one in his district. He said the change would help save jobs.
Among the facilities that would have been affected are Longview Fibre and Weyerhaeuser plants in Cowlitz County; Georgia-Pacific in Clark County; and Simpson Tacoma Kraft in Pierce County.
But the House did not act on the bill. Hatfield said he will keep working on it.
"To me it was more about trying to use whatever leverage we could find for what is important for rural Washington," he said. "There was collateral damage, but everything lives to fight another day in Olympia."
Hatfield said he and Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, left to get leadership's attention.
Their absence may have stalled the progress of a bill that would have extended temporary taxes on hotel stays, restaurants and car rentals to help fund economic projects in King County. The measure would extend taxes that are paying the debt on sports stadiums.
Revenue from the taxes, created in 1995, has been paying off construction of the Kingdome, Safeco Field and Qwest Field. The Safeco debt is expected to be paid within the year.
But King County Executive Dow Constantine wants the 0.5 percent restaurant tax extended until 2015. The bill would extend indefinitely a 2 percent car-rental tax to raise revenue for revitalization projects in Seattle's Pioneer Square-International District, the convention center's expansion and money for the arts.
County officials expected the bill to move out of committee but fell a vote short.
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