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Tag: Steve Litzow

April
16th

Could this be the day Senate Democrats’ take their stab at a procedural coup?

Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray made clear Monday that his minority caucus is looking for a way to seize control of the Senate and force votes on a pair of controversial bills blocked by the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus. The move to go to the 9th Order of Business, which lets lawmakers bring bills directly to the floor from committee with a simple majority vote, could open a Pandora’s Box for the majority and would have to occur before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. cutoff.

At issue are an abortion-insurance bill, which has support from at least 25 Senate members, and a

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March
21st

UPDATE: Poll shows more voters opposed to abortion ‘parity’ act than in favor

Updated: In a warm-up to the April 1 Senate hearing on an important abortion rights bill, two anti-abortion groups released a poll Thursday showing the public is only dimly aware of the Reproductive Parity Act. And once details of the legislation are explained, a 50 percent majority is opposed.

The groups hired Elway Research for the proprietary poll. See Stuart Elway‘s results here. The survey of 412 voters during Feb. 28 to March 2 had an error margin of 5 percent. Key finding: the opposition led the proponents by a 50 percent to 42 percent margin when asked if they agreed: “All

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March
13th

UPDATE – Senate approves Gov. Inslee’s climate-change study bill on 37 to 12 bipartisan vote; House wants stronger version

 

With a dramatic 5 p.m. bill deadline looming as a backdrop, the floor vote today was anti-climactic for Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to create a legislative work group to study the best way to meet state targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The latest iteration of Senate Bill 5802 easily cleared the Washington Senate this morning with a big bipartisan vote of 37-12.

The version of the measure that passed omits key language sought by Inslee that states Washington is vulnerable to climate change on many fronts – from rising

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March
6th

UPDATED: Bill to give principals authority over teacher reassignment passes Senate

A proposal to give school principals the power to decide placement of teachers and other staff passed the state Senate Wednesday, despite strong opposition from minority Democrats.

The issue of teacher reassignment was central to the fall 2011 teacher’s strike in Tacoma, and teacher unions testified against the bill during its hearings before a Senate education committee earlier this session.

State Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, said his bill would empower principals to shape their staff in a way that they think would best serve students.

“Principals keep telling me that if we’re going to hold them accountable for their

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March
6th

Letter grades for schools gets Senate approval

A divided state Senate Wednesday approved giving schools grades of A through F based on their performance starting in fall of 2014.

A pilot program to test the grading system would start this fall and continue through the 2013-2014 school year, involving five districts chosen by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. The grading system would then be implemented statewide in 2014-2015.

It’s a more relaxed timeline than originally proposed by Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, who initially wanted all schools to start receiving grades of A through F starting this fall.

A majority of Democrats opposed the bill,

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Feb.
22nd

UPDATE – House votes 53-to-43 in near party-line vote to require health insurers to cover abortion alongside maternity

 

In a near party-line vote, the state House passed the contentious “Reproductive Parity Act” to the Senate by a 53-to-43 margin Friday. One Republican, freshman Rep. Chad Magendaz of Issaquah, voted in favor, and two Democrats – freshman Rep. Roger Freeman of Federal Way and Rep. Chris Hurst of Enumclaw – voted against the bill requiring health insurers to pay for abortions if they also insure maternity services.

House Bill 1044 now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, had pledged to hear it as one of the first bills that are sent over by the House ata today’s cutoff.

“We

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Feb.
18th

Abortion rights supporters applaud maverick Sen. Rodney Tom

The state Democratic Party may be gunning for Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom for joining up with Senate Republicans to form a conservative coalition that

controls the Washington  Senate this year. But advocates at a reproductive rights rally on the Capitol steps today gave Tom and Republican Sen. Steve Litzow of Mercer Island a big hand today as each took a turn with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee to speak.

Tom thanked the crowd of about 250 activists and said, “That’s why I’m down here making sure my 17-year-old daughter has the kind of protections that we need in Washington state and

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Feb.
15th

UPDATE – Bill guaranteeing abortion coverage in health insurance plans looks doomed in state Senate

One way or another, a bill requiring health insurance policies to include abortion coverage if they also cover maternity will get heard in the Senate Health Care Committee. It just won’t happen before next week’s Feb. 22 deadline for passing bills out of committee, Republican Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville says.

Becker, who chairs the Senate committee, said she will hear the House version of the so-called Reproductive Parity Act once the House approves it in a floor vote and it is sent over to the Senate.

Becker said in an interview late Friday that she and Rep. Eileen Cody,

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