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Tag: Lisa Brown


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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AP: Washington Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown won’t seek re-election

Here’s the AP breaking news story:

APNewsBreak: Sen. Brown won’t seek re-election

By Rachel La Corte
Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown announced Thursday that she won’t run for re-election and will leave her seat in the state Legislature after her term expires at the end of the year.

The Spokane Democrat said that after 20 years in the Legislature, she is ready to move on.

Brown, 55, said that she’ll keep her part-time position teaching classes at Gonzaga University in Spokane, but otherwise is going to “wait and see what comes along.”

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Dems’ budget support still shaky in Senate; unclear if vote will happen

Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt predicts Democrats will force a vote in the Senate tonight on their budget that just passed the House, even though he says they don’t have the 25-vote majority they need.

“I think we’re 25 strong and maybe getting better,” Hewitt said.

So why vote? It’s “a blame game,” the Walla Walla minority leader said. Democrats are trying to pin the blame on Republicans for wanting to cut more to K-12 and more to higher education and for making the Legislature come back for special session, he said.

He said Democrats are to blame for

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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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No takers so far on Gov. Gregoire’s lottery bid plan

Most of Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s ambitious legislative agenda has been turned into legislation. She found sponsors for bills to recognize same-sex marriage (a whopping 73 sponsors), take over business tax collections from cities (with Gig Harbor’s Sen. Derek Kilmer taking the lead) and retool teacher evaluations.

But there’s no bill yet for her plan to seek bids from private companies wanting to take over Washington’s Lottery.

The proposed bill was turned over to House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, but no one in their majority Democratic caucuses has offered to sponsor it.

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State’s pre-paid tuition program is strong, report finds

A proposal in the state Legislature to change Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program lost some momentum Wednesday when the State Actuary released report saying the pre-paid tuition program has a slim chance of running out of money.

The results of the report featured prominently in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing this morning on the Senate Bill 5749, a proposal that would reform GET in an effort to keep it from becoming a financial liability to the state, and they led some state representatives to argue that creating a new “GET 2” won’t be necessary.

“My conclusion is that, A, the GET program is in great shape and, B, that GET 2 is not a good idea,” said Rep. Larry Seaquist, chair of the House Higher Education Committee after hearing the results of the study.

Though he voted to pass the proposal out of his committee last week, Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, said now that he had seen the report he planned to work with the prime sponsor of the bill, Sen. Lisa Brown, to make some minor changes to GET management, but leave most of the existing program as it is.

According to the report, the existing GET program, which allows people to buy credits at today’s prices that are guaranteed to cover future tuition at the state’s most expensive university, has a 0.7 percent chance of requiring a state bail-out over the next 50 years. Under a worst-case scenario, though, the program could cost the state $4.6 billion.

The changes to the program, proposed in Senate Bill 5749 would probably reduce the amount that GET units would appreciate over time. Rather than guaranteeing that 100 units would be worth a year of tuition at the most expensive state university, GET units would appreciate based on a weighted average of all state college and university tuition increases.

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Bill by Sen. Brown would encourage older teachers to retire

Under a bill introduced in the state Senate today, retiring teachers could get extra help with healthcare costs after they leave the classroom.

Senate Bill 5846, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, would offer retiring teachers $250 per month to mitigate healthcare costs, a move Brown says would encourage higher-paid, older teachers to retire and make it easier for young teachers to find work.

“Offering teachers at the end of their career a health-care bridge to retirement is way to thank them for their years of service in our classrooms, allow school districts to save money on payroll, and provide younger teachers more opportunities to begin their teaching careers,” said Brown, a Spokane Democrat, in a press release announcing the measure.

Under the bill, members of plan 1 of the Teachers’ Retirement System in the state, meaning teachers who began working before 1977, would be eligible for the monthly healthcare subsidy if they retire this summer. The payments would last from September 2011 to August 2014.

Rich Wood of the Washington Education Association, the union for public school employees in the state, said the association supports the bill, which could apply to about 5,000 retirement-eligible teachers.

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Bill would reform Washington’s prepaid college tuition program

With the future of higher education funding uncertain, lawmakers are looking to change the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition Program, saying that it could lead to budget problems down the road.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, and Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, have teamed up to sponsor Senate Bill 5749, which would change the program under which Washington parents can buy credits toward future college tuition for their children, but the program’s administrators say the proposed reforms could make it a less attractive investment.

Though the program is not in danger of running out of money at the moment, Brown said she was sponsoring the bill because nobody knows how much tuition will cost at state universities in a few years.

“I don’t think we have a very clear path forward for higher education funding at this point,” Brown said.

The current GET program allows parents to buy “units” that they can eventually use to pay for college. Buying 100 units guarantees a person one year of tuition and fees at the most expensive state university.

The proposed changes to the program would limit the amount that units can appreciate to an average of increases at all state colleges and universities, weighted based on the number of students going there, allow limits on the number of units people could buy and reduce the amount students who do not use their units could be refunded.

According to a 2009 report by the State Actuary, the risk of state money having to be used to bail out GET over the next fifty years is small, though under a worst case scenario—if people stopped buying into the program, for instance—the necessary state contribution could be significant.

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