Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On the state political front . . .
There is much that has taken place over the last few days with the potential to impact our work.  On Monday the Senate democrats made a counter offer to the newly formed Majority Coalition I posted about here.  Essentially they offered to split control of committees and leadership in what they view as a more equitable distribution of power. On Tuesday, the Senate republicans with support from the two democrats that have joined their caucus said no thanks.  So, the democrats will not give up control easily (AP article in  Oregon live) or join in the Majority Coalition proposal and the new majority is willing and ready to change Senate rules in order to take control of the body.  See this Tuesday Seattle Times article for more details.

The current majority leader, Senator Murray made the proposal on Monday.

"Our offer is, we will support your leadership and you will support our leadership and we will go into a co-arrangement for two years, and that way we will stabilize the Senate," Murray, D-Seattle, said.

The leader of the new coalition, Senator Tom, said no and went further by stating that they will do what is necessary when the session begins to take control.

"When the 2013 session convenes on January 14 of next year, the members of our Majority Coalition Caucus will take the steps necessary to begin functioning as the Senate's majority caucus," Tom wrote.

"We believe it would be best for the institution ... if the current majority would accommodate our incoming majority," he wrote. "The alternative would be to risk the very chaos you have publicly warned might accompany a change in the Senate majority."

The hoped for collaboration in the Senate appears dead before it had a chance to begin.  What does this mean for us?  Bills being proposed with little likelihood of being passed considering the democratic majority in the house and a democratic governor, significant problems in meeting McCleary funding directive, and the possibility of needing to wait until late spring or early summer before finding out what our budget will be.

Late yesterday, outgoing Governor Gregoire unveiled her budget proposal that included about a billion dollars more for schools.  We will need to wait and see if this proposal has any influence on the incoming governor or whether it is simply a document that must be filed, but carries with it little to no leverage in the upcoming session.

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