Democrats may share power with GOP on school funding panel

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Monday, November 26, 2012 9:12am
  • Local News

Democrats in the state Senate appear set to appoint one of their respected moderate members to lead the budget committee and to share power with Republicans on a new panel dealing with the critical issue of public school funding.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, who was re-elected to a sixth term this month, could be named chairman of the Ways and Means Committee as early as today when Democrats gather in Olympia to choose leaders for committees and their caucus.

Democrats also may approve creation of a new committee focused on figuring out how to amply fund public schools as required by the state Supreme Court decision in the McCleary case.

State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, chairwoman of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee, said last week that she suggested the idea of a new panel to Senate Majority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle.

But unlike other committees, leadership of this panel would be shared by a Democrat and a Republican under a proposal Murray is pushing. He is said to want to see the committee run along the same lines of an existing legislative task force on school funding which is supposed to finish its work and be dissolved at the end of the year.

The two moves appear aimed at solidifying an increasingly brittle Democratic majority in the chamber. While Democrats outnumber Republicans, their advantage may only be 26-23 when all the votes in the Nov. 6 election are counted.

Democrats could find themselves in the minority if two conservative Democrats, Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, carry out their pledge to cross the aisle and join the GOP caucus on key budget and government reform matters.

Meanwhile Murray, in a tacit acknowledgement of that prospect, sent a letter to GOP members last week urging they commit to working together in the 2013 session.

Below is his letter:

Dear Senate Republican Caucus Members,

The Senate Democratic Caucus stands ready to work with your leadership team, and the entire Republican caucus, to fulfill the Senate’s constitutional responsibility along with the Governor and the House to govern. Our own caucus has elected me as their leader and we are in the process of electing the rest of our leadership team and completing our committee recommendations. We will gladly share it with you after our caucus approves it.

In the recent past, our respective caucuses have set new standards of bipartisan cooperation. We remain committed to working with Senate Republicans in a manner that will reflect the priorities and values of our state. We are committed to finding a path forward and to working collaboratively, regardless of changes that create or dissolve majorities now or in the future.

Once you have completed your reorganizational process, which we understand to be scheduled for Nov. 28, we request Republican leadership meet with Senate Democratic leadership to negotiate a clear administrative process going forward and to fulfill your shared responsibility to govern. Our goal is to recognize the fluid nature of the Senate at present and to govern accordingly.

I personally look forward to working with you and the citizens of our state as we work for the best interests of Washington.

Respectfully,

Edward B. Murray

Senate Majority Leader

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read