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Tag: Jim Kastama


Gregoire administration lets agencies skip ‘quality’ assessment

State agencies are supposed to get physicals every three years in the form of assessments by the Washington State Quality Award program. But most have never done it, and Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s budget office now says they can’t afford to do it this year either.

Two Democratic legislators running for statewide office want a second opinion. Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way and Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup have asked Attorney General Rob McKenna to declare whether agencies have to follow this kind of a mandate from the Legislature.

Miloscia has already drawn a conclusion — that skipping the examinations violates state law.

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Pension deal clears Senate

A measure just approved in the state Senate by a vote of 27-21 would scale back early-retirement benefits for future government workers and save state and local governments $1.3 billion over 25 years, about half of what Republicans had proposed.

The proposal was negotiated between the parties and could remove one of the last stumbling blocks to passing a budget.

Majority Senate Democrats left Republicans to do the heavy lifting. Just seven Democrats supported it, joining all but two Republicans, Don Benton and Pam Roach. One opponent, Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, argued it would encourage future government workers to go

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Most lawmakers align with their new districts on gay rights

To understand the ‘no’ vote cast on gay marriage Wednesday by Rep. Steve Kirby, a Tacoman who usually sides with his fellow Democrats, it helps to look at how the people in his district voted in 2009 on the “everything but marriage” referendum.

No, not his current district, which turned down Referendum 71 by a somewhat narrow 52-to-48 margin. I’m talking about the district where he has to run this year. It’s still the 29th, but it has been reshaped by redistricting, and the new area defeated domestic partnership expansion by a near-landslide 55-to-45 margin.

The R-71 vote to expand

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What’s alive, what’s dead: Road Kill edition

Yes, it’s a grisly title, but legislative watchers know I’m referring to the Road Kill Caucus. It’s the small group of centrist Democrats (pro-business fiscal hawks with varied but mostly liberal views on social issues) who have wielded outsized power over the past year because their party desperately needs their votes to accomplish anything in the divided Senate.

Tuesday’s cutoff — the midnight deadline for bills to pass out of budget committees — left the Road Kill faction sitting pretty.

In the Senate, the group and its Republican allies had a list of priorities they were trying to move along,

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How Pierce County lawmakers plan to vote on gay marriage

With the first vote on same-sex marriage coming as early as next week, all Pierce County senators have staked out their positions. Among the county’s representatives in the House — where the outcome is not in question — just two votes are truly up in the air: Tacoma Democrats Troy Kelley and Steve Kirby.

Both backed an expansion of domestic partnerships in 2009, but neither is committed on this vote.

Kelley didn’t return phone calls Friday, after saying Thursday he couldn’t talk while driving in the foul weather.

Kirby said the issue’s divisiveness is the main source of his reservations.

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Legislature within one vote of backing gay marriage after Sen. Jim Kastama’s announcement

Kastama, a Puyallup Democrat who was wavering on the issue, today became the 24th state senator to say he will vote for legal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Supporters need 25 votes in the Senate and 50 in the House, where at least 49 Democrats and two Republicans have committed to voting for it. No one’s declaring victory yet, but I’ve heard from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who say privately they expect at least one more Senate vote to emerge.

Two Republicans and 22 Democrats have endorsed gay marriage rights in the Senate, including Kastama, a moderate who

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Morning update: Day 11

State Sen. Jim Kastama plans to announce today how he will vote on legal recognition for gay marriage.

If he gives a thumbs-up, the Puyallup Democrat would be the 24th announced supporter of same-sex marriage in a Senate where 25 votes make a majority. He is running for secretary of state.

Otherwise, the snow and ice have canceled many legislative meetings today. But in those still planned, lawmakers will get updates on the tuition-setting authority they gave universities, on the new Department of Enterprise Services they created and on implementation of the federal health care law.

A hearing is planned on

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Sen. Jim Kastama: Marketing to blame for lackluster lottery sales

The state senator from Puyallup says Washington should emulate Georgia on an advertising campaign “built around education, not get-rich-quick schemes.”

At Kastama’s behest, the state followed Georgia in shifting lottery proceeds to higher education, but auditors said today the strategy hasn’t borne fruit in the form of better-selling lottery tickets.

“The takeaway isn’t that the program doesn’t work. The takeaway is that we haven’t done it correctly,” said Kastama in a statement:


If this can work in Georgia but not here, then we have to ask ourselves why.

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