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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Mike Padden

Sunday Spin: Tough sledding on gun bills

OLYMPIA – The massacre of first graders and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary may result in some major national gun-control legislation this year. Too soon to tell.

But it may also block some smaller gun-related legislation in Washington state. At least that’s what several Senate Democrats contended Friday afternoon after an unusual meeting of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

 To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 26: Parity Bill hearing canceled

OLYMPIA — A hearing on a proposal to require insurance companies to cover abortion services if they cover live births was cancelled this morning, a few days after the committee chairman said he would hear the bill even though he didn't support it.

The Reproductive Parity bill was among several proposals on the schedule for the Senate Law and Justice Committee, which earlier this week held a two-hour hearing on a bill on the other side of the abortion issue which would require parental notification for any minor seeking an abortion.

Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, announced on Monday he was scheduling the Friday morning  hearing, adding that didn't mean he supported it. Padden is a longtime opponent of abortion and a co-sponsor of the parental notification bill. At the time he said the Reproductive Parity bill had problems that would become clear in the hearing.

The committee did meet, discussing bills on boating safety, adding judges in the Tri-Cities and defining subpoena power for the state auditor.

Abortion bills have the potential for splitting the coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats who form the majority in the Senate. Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, who supports abortion rights, said earlier this week that he didn't support the parental notification bill, but the hearing was the first on the oft-proposed measure in 10 years. Holding a hearing on that measure showed the coaltion was willing to debate issues that had been “bottled up” by the previous Democratic majority, he said. 

At the time, Tom also noted that the Reproductive Parity bill had been scheduled for today's hearing, and said the hearings would “get us away from demonization” of the two sides on the issue.

“Let's have that debate,” he said.

Padden said this morning he decided to cancel the Reproductive Parity bill because he believes it would jeopardize federal funding and invite lawsuits if it became law. An identical bill has been referred to the Health Care Committee 

“I never was a fan of the bill to begin with and I worked hard to defeat it last year,” Padden said of a similar measure that died when time ran out for a deadline to pass bills. 

After the bill was abruptly pulled from the Law and Justice hearing calendar, Tom reportedly told the Associated Press it was not determined when or where the bill might be heard. An identical bill is before the Senate Health Committee, but is not expected to get a hearing there, either. A similar bill has been heard in the House and is expected to pass that chamber.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, the sponsor of the Reproductive Parity bill that was pulled from Friday's hearing schedule, said he was frustrated by Padden's refusal to hear the bill.

But Hobbs said Tom has “given me his word that we're going to hear it. I'm going to give him the opportunity to get it right.” 

One Democratic source said an option could be for Senate leaders to reassign the bill to the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, because it involves a regulation for insurance companies.

The chairman of that committee is Hobbs.

WA Lege Day 19: Shedding light on officer-involved deaths

 OLYMPIA – Medical examiners would be able to discuss the results of autopsies in case involving police shootings, giving them a chance to clear up what Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich refers to as “misinformation and myths” in some controversial cases, under a bill being considered by the Senate.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, is designed to lift some confidentiality restrictions on autopsy reports when a death occurs in the custody of a law enforcement officer or during police contact.

Confidentiality restrictions, which under state law cover most autopsy and post-mortem investigation reports, also would be lifted for deaths that occur in a prison or jail.

If the proposed law were in effect, Knezovich said he’d be able to explain details of cases like the Sept. 5 death of Edward Gover . . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Padden will hold hearing on abortion notice bill

Sen. Padden address the March for Life demonstration on the steps of the Capitol.

OLYMPIA — A proposed law requiring parents to be notified of an abortion for any woman under 18 will get a hearing in a Senate committee this year, and possibly a full debate and floor vote. 

State Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, told a crowd of  more than 2,000 anti-abortion activists Tuesday that the first parental notification bill in many years will definitely get a Senate hearing in the next few weeks.

“You have to keep up the fight,” he told demonstrators at the annual March for Life, who filled the steps of the Capitol and the steps of the Temple of Justice across the flag plaza. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog. 

WA Lege Day 8: More questions, some answers, on legalized pot

OLYMPIA – In legalizing marijuana last fall, voters created more questions for the Legislature, not fewer.

Some, including how the federal government is going to react, can’t be answered yet, officials from the State Liquor Control Board told the Senate committee Monday.

Law and Justice Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said he’s heard concerns that any revenue the state collects from taxes on growing, processing or selling marijuana could be seized by the Justice Department under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statutes. Is that possible, he asked. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 5: Fighting campus drinking

OLYMPIAWashington State University uses many tools to combat binge drinking by students, from mandatory information programs to counseling to notifying parents, a school official told a legislative panel Friday. But the rate of binge drinking is still about the national average, roughly two out of five students.

The Legislature might give WSU and other colleges around the state one more tool to reduce on-campus drinking – special DUI courts on campus similar to courts in Spokane and some other cities that specialize in driving under the influence cases.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee, which is considering a bill to authorize college DUI courts, got some sobering facts on binge drinking from Robert King of The Century Council, a national group trying to curb alcohol abuse. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Special Session Day 30: Moving toward a deal

OLYMPIA – Legislators slogged through a series of votes Tuesday night that would give the state a balanced budget, pay for nearly $1 billion in government construction projects and implement a series of reforms that could save the state money in the future.
Both chambers were poised to vote on a more than a half-dozen bills, an interconnected package of spending cuts and reforms hammered out in negotiations with Gov. Chris Gregoire as the clock ticked toward a midnight deadline.
They made plans to go into a brief special session if necessary to complete votes on the package, which would change the state’s pension system, revise health insurance programs for public school employees and require budgets that balance over four years rather than two.
  

Eyeglass bill gets final passage

OLYMPIA – The Legislature gave final approval this week to a bill that will allow charities like the Union Gospel Mission distribute used eyeglasses.
After several trips back and forth between the two chambers, the House of Representatives gave unanimous approval to HB 2261, which allows charities to provide glasses and hearing aids to poor or uninsured people without worrying about lawsuits…
To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.

WA Lege working on eyeglass problem

OLYMPIA – Groups like the Union Gospel Mission could go back to dispensing donated eyeglasses to the poor this summer if legislation to protect charities with such programs comes into a little sharper focus in the Legislature.
The House and Senate both passed separate bills Thursday that protect charities by giving them immunity from lawsuits when they distribute free eye glasses after the recipient is examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
The Union Gospel Mission had such a program…

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Spec Sess Day17: Padden ‘hazed’ by other senators

OLYMPIA — Newly elected Sen. Mike Padden of the Spokane Valley received his traditional hazing by colleagues today as the Senate wound down toward adjournment of the special session.

After passing a $480 million partial fix to the budget and some bills necessary to make that work, Padden received a “point of personal privilege” ostensably to thank other senators for a resolution early this year honoring predecessor Bob McCaslin, someone who was “a delight to be around — most of teh time,” he noted.

McCaslin and Padden were both first elected to the Legislature in 1980. Some other members who served with Padden in the House chided him that things have changed a bit since he left the other chamber in the mid '90s to become a judge. Padden is like the movie character Austin Powers who was frozen in time, Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville said: “We have to help Mike adjust to this century.”

Things have changed politically, too, Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane said. When he was first elected, he was among the Legislature's most conservative members. “Now you're a moderate for the 4th District,” she said. “Although you still vote No a lot.”

Padden was one of just six Senate votes against the supplemental budget.

Allen wins second count, but a third awaits

Former Councilman Mike Allen's lead over incumbent Richard Rush grew by three to 91 on Wednesday after a recount of the Spokane City Council election for the city's south district.

The race was recounted by machine because the result from the first count was within half of 1 percentage point. Rush said he still plans to pursue a hand recount, which the Spokane County Democratic Party has agreed to finance.

Results of a hand recount in the 4th Legislative District senate race, which also was completed Wednesday and was paid for by candidate Jeff Baxter, may not give Rush much hope for much change.

Baxter paid more than $1,700 to have 10 precincts recounted in his race against state Sen. Mike Padden. Election workers who tallied the ballots Wednesday morning found two errors. Baxter lost a vote, and one vote that had been counted as blank was changed to a write-in, for the candidate “N/A.”

In the Rush-Allen race, Rush's tally was found to be too high by two and Allen gained a vote after a ballot that had been counted as blank was found to have been marked for Allen.

Election Manager Mike McLaughlin said he can't say for sure why Rush's count fell by two. One possibility is that after paper jams occurred in the machines, ballots that already had been counted may have been sent through a second time, he said.

Each campaign involved in the two recounts had observers at the Elections Office.

Baxter lost to Padden by 3,638 votes. He said he paid for the recount with his personal money and did so because results in some precincts conflicted with data campaign workers collected when going door-to-door. The outcome hints that in a future race volunteers need to do a better job reaching voters when they're home, he said.

“I didn't think anything insidious was going on,” Baxter said. “I'm just saying that we need to work a little harder in different precincts.”

Baxter said he hasn't decided if he will run again next year.

Last week, Rush indicated that Baxter may have paid for a recount to prevent Rush's race from being recounted by hand. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton originally requested that the City Council race be counted by hand to test new scanners in the county's voting machines. But she changed course after Baxter opted to pay for a recount in his race.

“It had absolutely nothing to do with his race,” Baxter said. “I don't have the time to be playing those games.”

Mapping the Undervotes in 4th Senate race

A hand recount of 10 precincts in the state Senate race between Mike Padden and Jeff Baxter gets underway on Wednesday. Baxter, who is paying for the recount, won't say at this point why he's seeking the recount.

But there is one unusual thing about the race. Well, one unusual thing beyond the fact that the race had two Republicans and takes place in an odd-numbered year.

That is the level of “undervotes”, which is what elections officials call a ballot that has no candidate marked for that particular race. About one 4th District voter in five, or 7,900, didn't pick a candidate in the race.

By comparison, only 765 voters in all of Spokane County didn't pick a side on the Initiative 1183, which ended the state's monopoly on liquor sales. OK, so that may not be a fair comparison, because one is about something really important, like booze, and the other…well, you know.

One key factor may have been the lack of a Democratic candidate. Some Ds might've just been unable to mark their ballots for an R when they got to that race.

But the map above shows where undervotes were heaviest, and they aren't all in traditionally Democratic precincts. Nor do they coincide with the precincts that Baxter has asked to be recounted: 4016, 4025, 4026, 4200, 4404, 4406, 4408, 4418, 4426 and 4436.

For a more detailed (and in most cases easier to read) version of the above map, click on the document link below.


Documents:

Recounts moved to Wednesday

Spokane County Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said this afternoon that sorting ballots for recounting took longer than expected.

Therefore, the Spokane City Council recount between Richard Rush and Mike Allen and the 4th Legislative District Senate race between Jeff Baxter and Mike Padden won't start until 9 a.m. Wednesday, he said. County should be complete by 1 p.m., when the Spokane County Canvassing Board meets to certify the new results.

Recounts start Tuesday

Spokane County election officials expect to start and complete on Tuesday the first two of the three recounts they need to complete to finish work from the November election.

Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said the office plans to count the ballots from the Spokane City Council race between Richard Rush and Mike Allen and the 4th Legislative District senate race between Mike Padden and Jeff Baxter starting around 9 a.m.

The Rush-Allen recount will be completed by computer and is required because the race ended with the two candidates within a half percentage point. The senate recount will be completed manually because it was paid for by Baxter.

After this set of results is complete and the Canvassing Board meets on Wednesday, the Allen-Rush hand recount, which is being financed by the Spokane County Democratic Party, can begin.

Rush trails Allen by 88 votes.

Baxter trails Padden by 3,437 votes.

Baxter pays for recount

Former state Sen. Jeff Baxter is paying for a partial recount of ballots in his unsuccessful bid to retain his Spokane Valley seat despite losing the race by more than 3,400 votes.

Baxter’s opponent in the contest, Mike Padden, was sworn in as senator representing the 4th Legislative District on Tuesday soon after the Spokane County Canvassing Board certified the results.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Baxter submitted a check for $1,174 to recount 10 precincts. She said he was required to make a down payment of 25 cents per ballot. He will get a refund if the cost of the recount is less.

Baxter, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, lost it in the November election by 3,437 votes after garnering only 45 percent of the vote.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Baxter declined to comment when asked if he thought the race was fair. He noted that state law doesn’t require candidates to say why they are asking for a recount and said he would answer questions after a recount is completed.

Mike Padden, who was in the middle of his second day as the 4th District’s new state senator Tuesday afternoon, said he had just been informed that Baxter had asked for a recount but didn’t know “what his rationale is.”

“The vote was pretty overwhelming. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Padden said.

“There is a high undervote,” he said, referring to the term used for a ballot that had no candidate marked for that race. “But you’d expect a high undervote when there’s no Democrat in the race.”


Documents:

Spec Sess Day 2: Padden sworn in

Mike Padden, with wife Laura, waves to family and friends in the Senate chamber after being sworn in by Supreme Courth Justice Jim Johnson

OLYMPIA — Mike Padden took the oath of office Tuesday afternoon in the Senate chambers shortly after Spokane County certified the results on the Nov. 8 elections.

4th District will get new senator on Day 2 of session

Because of a quirk in state law, Spokane’s 4th Legislative District will have one senator for the first day of the upcoming special session, and a different senator for the rest of it.
Republican Mike Padden is the apparent winner of the race to fill a seat that came open earlier this year when veteran Sen. Bob McCaslin resigned for health reasons. Padden has a mathematically insurmountable lead over Jeff Baxter, a fellow Republican appointed to the seat earlier this year.
Padden, a former state representative and district judge, leads Baxter by 3,628 votes. The Spokane County elections office estimates there are fewer than 3,000 votes left to count in the 4th District.
  

AWB endorses Baxter

OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business endorsed Jeff Baxter Friday in the race for the state Senate seat in Spokane Valley's 4th District.

The AWB is meeting this week at Suncadia lodge — a resort near Cle Elum — for its annual “policy summit”. Among the policies are endorsements…mostly for initiatives in this odd-year election.

But with a contest between two Republicans in the 4th, the group went with the incumbent Baxter, who was appointed to the seat this winter after Bob McCaslin retired for health reasons. He faces another Republican, former state Rep. and County District Judge Mike Padden in November because no Democrats got into the race.

The AWB said it was backing Baxter because of his business experience. “The private sector needs to lead our economic recovery efforts,” the group said.

Baxter to run for Senate seat

OLYMPIA — RepublicanJeff Baxter will run in this year's special election in an effort to keep the state Senate seat he now holds by appointment.

Baxter announced today that he will seek election to the Spokane Valley's 4th Legislative District seat. He was appointed to the post earlier this year by Spokane County commissioners after Sen. Bob McCaslin announced his resignation after 30 years because of health problems.

Immediately after taking office, Baxter said he was uncertain whether he would run for the post later in the year: “I just got here. Give me a couple days or weeks.” Tuesday he said  he was “committed to continuing to represent Spokan County residents during this challenging time.

Baxter, 50, is a Spokane Valley businessman who owns three companies connected to bank cards.

Already in the race is Mike Padden, a former state representative and former Spokane County district judge.

Padden running for 4th District Senate seat

Former Rep. Mike Padden is running for the 4th District Senate seat that he was shut out of in the recent appointment process.

Padden announced today that he'll run this fall for the seat formerly held for 30 years by Bob McCaslin, and to which Jeff Baxter was recently appointed by Spokane County Commissioners. His announcement came with endorsements from some Valley GOP heavyweights like McCaslin and former state Rep. Lynn Schindler.

A 14-year legislator and 12-year Spokane County District Court judge, Padden was among more than a half dozen Republicans interested in the appointment when McCaslin resigned on Jan. 5 because of health problems. But when Republican precinct committee officers met later that month to nominate three potential replacements, supporters of state Rep. Matt Shea elected a slate that kept Padden off the list.

4th District Republican Leader Jeff Baxter, a Valley businessman, was appointed to the seat until a special election this fall. He was sworn in last week, but said he wants to wait a few week before deciding whether he'll run for the position in the upcoming special election.

Although Padden can begin campaigning and raising money now, state law prohibits Baxter, Shea, or any sitting legislator from raising money for an election campaign while the Legislature is in session.

He said Monday he left the Legislature in 1995 because he had young children at home, and the district court appointsment was “a great opportunity and allowed me to return here fulltime.

“I always missed the Legislature.”

He currently serves as judicial outreach liaison to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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