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Tag: Don Benton


Moneytree-backed bill will be part of budget talks

A controversial bill that was thought to have died in committee may have risen from the ashes. The bill, backed by payday lender Moneytree, is being touted as “necessary to implement the budget” by one of its biggest proponents.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said Senate Bill 5312 is one of a number of bills that are “critical” to the balance of the budget passed in the Senate. He said the bill will be part of the upcoming budget negotiations.

“We certainly expect and hope 5312 to pass,” Benton said, “because we’re counting on some of that revenue

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Sen. Tracey Eide blocks her own budget over Columbia River Crossing spat with Sen. Don Benton

State Sen. Tracey Eide said she is keeping her own budget bottled up in her committee because of proposed amendments she opposes that would restrict funding for the Columbia River Crossing bridge.

Eide, a Democrat, and fellow Transportation Committee co-chairman Curtis King, a Republican, unveiled their transportation budget more than a week ago but it hasn’t received a committee vote. At issue is $81.8 million in planning money for the I-5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver.

Sen. Don Benton, an opponent of light rail on the bridge, has offered amendments targeting that money and said he has support in his majority, mostly Republican caucus. “I

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Sen. Don Benton issues sharp press release after exchange with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

Republican lawmakers met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday and aired their opposition to the current design of the Columbia River Crossing — opposition that might just sink the prospects for a statewide transportation-tax package.

They certainly didn’t seem to cow LaHood, who replied that it’s now or never to secure federal matching funds. “That’s what you get elected to do, you get elected to vote, you get elected to make decisions. It’s decision time,” he told the group of Republicans.

But based on a news release from GOP Sen. Don Benton, you’d think LaHood cried uncle –or

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Proposal for installment loans with up to 200 percent interest clears another hurdle

The House Committee on Business and Financial Services approved a bill backed by Seattle-based payday lender Moneytree today. The vote: 13-to-2.

Senate Bill 5312 would allow lenders to make loans of up to $1,500 with effective interest rates nearing 200 percent and repayment periods stretching from six months to a year.

Currently, payday lenders can lend up to $700. Those loans — which can have effective interest rates of up to 391 percent — must be repaid with one balloon payment on the borrower’s next payday.

The Business and Financial Services Committee Chair, Rep. Steve Kirby, R-Tacoma,

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Vote on NRA gun safety program becomes soapbox for some Senate Democrats

Eight Democratic members of the state Senate voted no Friday on a proclamation to encourage use of the National Rifle Association’s gun safety curriculum in schools, seizing the opportunity to decry how little attention gun-control bills have received in the Senate this year.

Senate Joint Memorial 8006, introduced by Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, would have no practical effect, but would indicate support for the use of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety program in schools and preschools. The NRA program tells children who find guns: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”

Sen. Dave Frockt, D-Seattle, said

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Were seeds for Majority Coalition Caucus in state Senate sewn in Washington Redistricting Commission?

Well, yeah. Sort of.

The so-called coup by 23 formerly minority Republicans and two Democrats that broke in mid-December came just after the final undecided Senate race was decided.

Because it was so close, the race between GOP incumbent Don Benton and challenger Tim Probst wasn’t official until the election was certified. Benton won reelection by 78 votes out of just under 55,000 cast. Once he was in and the GOP total was up to 23 votes, the coalition with Democrats Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon could became a majority of 25.

Did Benton deliver the majority?

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Democrats decry leak investigation

A debate over personnel discipline and transparency in the state Senate came to a head on the Senate floor this morning.

It appeared in the form of an arcane-seeming dispute over how many members a little-noticed committee on Senate personnel matters should have and who should chair it. Republicans and their two Democratic allies this morning turned aside proposed changes by minority Democrats that would have deposed GOP Sen.  Don Benton as chairman of the Facilities and Operations (F&O) Committee.

A week and a half after the Senate’s transfer of power, Democrats are complaining about how that committee is

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Capitol shuffle sends AG’s lobbyist Hunter Goodman to top Senate admin job

Hunter Goodman is moving over from the Attorney General’s Office to serve as secretary of the Senate. The announcement just went out confirming the day’s earlier rumor as Goodman replaces longtime secretary Tom Hoemann. Goodman was deputy chief of staff and served as legislative director for outgoing Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican who ran and lost his bid for governor.

New AG Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, is replacing some staff members, including the appointment today of a new solicitor general.

Goodman obviously knows his way around the Capitol but the powers that be still have to

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