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Tag: Tim Sheldon


Rodney Tom as Senate majority leader?

Conservative Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon talked on Monday about the possibility of joining with Republicans and Sen. Rodney Tom to elect a ”coalition” majority leader in place of the Democrats’ eventual pick for leader, Ed Murray.

Now Tom, a Medina Democrat, confirms to the Seattle Times who that majority leader might be:


Republicans confirmed they have discussed with Tom the idea of electing him majority leader, which would require a revamp of the process. The Times’ Andrew Garber has the details here.

Tom is a former Republican who switched parties in 2006, and a former budget writer who lost that role after he voted against a budget he helped write in 2010. He helped Republicans take over the budget process last winter, while also unsuccessfully pushing for charter schools — which went nowhere in the Legislature but won voters’ approval last week. Read more »


Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom hope to force power-sharing arrangement in Senate

Democrats will outnumber Republicans next year in a closely divided state Senate, but if Sens. Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom have their way, the two parties will have to share power in unprecedented fashion.

Last session, the two conservative Democrats and one other, departing Sen. Jim Kastama, joined Republicans to form a “philosophical majority” and advance their own budget plan. Now their continued role as king-makers hinges on the re-election of Vancouver Republican Sen. Don Benton, who is down by just 16 votes in a race almost certainly headed for a recount.

If Benton wins, Tom and Sheldon have choices to make.

Read more »


Medical marijuana bill passes Senate

After a late night of debate, state senators voted at 10:38 p.m. Wednesday to legalize and license medical-marijuana dispensaries.

Approval came on a vote of 29-20 despite the opposition of law enforcement groups.

But before sending SB 5073 to the House, the Senate added two amendments authored by an opponent, Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, that could limit the spread of dispensaries around the state.

The changes, approved narrowly by the Senate (one of them passing by just one vote) give cities and counties the power to prevent dispensaries from opening. By refusing to approve a dispensary, local governments could carve out areas of the

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Push on procedure comes with risk for committee chairman Jim Kastama

In Olympia, whether you oppose your party is not as important as when you oppose your party.

Leaders of the majority Democrats don’t expect their members to always toe the party line. But they do expect support on procedural votes.

So it was unusual Monday for Democratic Sen. Jim Kastama to propose, and Democratic Sens. Tim Sheldon and Steve Hobbs to support, clearing the way for a vote on a resolution that party leaders didn’t want to hear.

Another supporter Kastama had lined up was Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the powerful Democratic chairwoman of the Transportation Committee. Haugen said after the vote she would have

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Senate likely to let majority rule on budget

UPDATE 4 p.m.: The change to the rules was approved unanimously.

On the opening day of session, lawmakers adopt the rules they will operate under for the next two years. It’s usually an unremarkable moment, but this year there is reason to pay attention.

A change senators are expected to make in their rules will give Republicans and moderate Democrats more of a voice on the budget this year.

Conservative Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch proposes allowing state budgets to be amended on the floor of the Senate with a simple majority vote. Democratic leaders are backing the

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Business group endorses GOP lawmakers

A small business group today announced which incumbent legislators it’s backing for re-election, choosing 37 Republicans and conservative Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch.

The National Federation of Independent Business is holding off on endorsing non-incumbents and challengers until after interviewing them (except one House member, Rep. Doug Ericksen, running for Senate) but its nearly one-party slate makes it clear whose side the group will be on this November. Unhappy with Democrats over the impact of taxes, workers’ compensation costs and unemployment insurance taxes on businesses, the lobbying group will be hoping Republicans take over the Legislature.

Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn and Reps. Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup and Jan Angel of Port Orchard won endorsements.

NFIB’s Patrick Connor said: “Small business owners know they can count on these lawmakers through thick and thin, and we hope the voters will join us in supporting them for re-election.”

The full list, including their rating by the group:

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Environmentalists sort out ‘champions’ from ‘duds’

An environmental group praises Reps. Skip Priest and Geoff Simpson as “champions” while singling out Reps. Christopher Hurst and Troy Kelley and Sen. Tim Sheldon as “green duds.”

Washington Conservation Voters released its scorecard today, ranking each legislator on their environmental votes in 2009 and 2010 on a scale of 0-100.

South Sound legislators Hurst, Kelley and Sheldon are among five Democrats — the others are Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and Rep. Tim Probst — who come in for criticism.

Hurst’s and Kelley’s votes in this year’s special session to put energy-efficient upgrades of schools on the ballot weren’t enough to save them from the group’s ire. The Conservation Voters website says Hurst and Kelley earned low 44 percent ratings when they “voted against clean water, against the protection of our shorelines, against energy efficient televisions, and against transit for Pierce County.” They call Hurst’s record “shameful” and “likely (to) backfire on him in the near future” and say Kelley is “severely out of step with both his party and his constituents.”

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Which Democrats are immune to tax ads?

The answer: Not very many.

A number of freshmen and swing-district Democratic legislators were cut loose by their party to go their own way on tough tax or budget votes. But very few voted no across the board.

If the key bills are the main tax package, the tobacco taxes, and the operating budget that depends on both of those tax increases, the list of Democrats who opposed all three is small. I only see four: Rep. John Driscoll of Spokane,  Rep. Tim Probst of Vancouver, Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, and just one from Pierce County:

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