Posts tagged: Pam Roach
OLYMPIA – As a Senate committee approved tougher laws against impaired drivers Tuesday, some senators wondered aloud if the Legislature isn’t at least partially responsible for putting more drunks on the road by expanding the places where alcohol is consumed.
Less than an hour after the Senate Law and Justice Committee gave unanimous approval to a proposal that would require more and quicker jail time for drivers convicted of alcohol or drug impairment, Gov. Jay Inslee signed four bills the Legislature recently passed that add new places from which a person might be driving after legally consuming alcohol. . .
OLYMPIA — A law that toughens the state's drunk driving laws, in part by increasing mandatory jail time, received unanimous approval this morning from the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
Despite concerns by some senators that it didn't go far enough, or provide money to cities and counties for the higher costs of extra prosecutions for driving under the influence, all committee members gave it at least tentative support.
Just who was responsible for some of the drunks on the road was part of the debate. The Legislature must accept some responsibility, Sen. Jeanne Darnielle, D-Tacoma, said because it continues to increase the number of places where a person can consume alcohol — at movie theaters, public markets and spas — and then drive home.
The voters should accept some of the blame, said Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn. They opened up sales of distilled spirits in supermarkets through a 2011 initiative, and legalized marijuana consumption by adults in 2012. Stores like Costco now have mountains of liquor on display in their aisles, she said.
Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, tried unsuccessfully to attach amendments that would pay for increased prosecutions and incarcerations by extending the temporary tax on beer that was imposed in 2010 and is due to expire on June 30. Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said taxes to pay for the bill is something the Ways and Means Committee will address.
The bill makes a fourth conviction for driving under the influence a felony, down from five convictions under the current law. It sets up mandatory jail time or treatment programs for earlier offenses, would allow judges to order a drunk driver to abstain from alcohol and submit to mandatory daily testing.
Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday that tougher drunk driving laws were one of the three top priorities for the special session, along with passing an operating budget for 2013-15 and a package of new transportation projects that will require some new revenue.
Definitely helped, Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, the sponsor of the amendment, told the Ways and Means Committee. The requirement has been approved five times by voters through the initiative process, she noted, including last year.
“It’s time for the people in the Legislature to match the people of the state,” Roach said, and began listing approval percentages for committee members.
Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Ed Murray, both Seattle Democrats, were quick to raise their hands to indicate their districts rejected that initative.
Definitely hurt, said Nick Federici of Our Economic Future Coalition, an umbrella group for progressive and liberal organizations. If it takes a two-thirds majority to pass a tax increase, that means a one-third minority can block one, he said.. .
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OLYMPIA – The fight over who decides what can get a police officer fired prompted a legislative hearing that pit beat cops against their chiefs and prompted Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich to say a state senator was attacking his character.
“It was very insulting,” Knezovich said of questions from Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, about whether he’d ever used publicly funded fuel for his personal use, an allegation he denied.
Roach said she was just asking a question someone else had suggested and if he thought she was challenging his integrity, “he doth protest too loudly.”
The exchange came in a hearing over Senate Bill 5668. . .
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Fred Sittmann of Stanwood, Wash., listens to speakers at Friday's gun rights rally.
OLYMPIA – Second Amendment activists came well-armed to a Capitol Campus rally Friday where legislators promised to protect their freedom to have firearms and speakers denounced President Obama and gun control.
With the Legislature considering proposals to ban some firearms and high capacity clips or require background checks for all gun sales, some speakers urged the crowd to prepare for a fight over their gun rights.
But Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, predicted that even if those restrictions pass the Democratic-controlled House “they will die in the
OLYMPIA – Legislators have a wide array of changes they think would make the state’s elections run smoother.
At hearings Tuesday, they suggested paying for the postage for voters to return their mail-in ballots, requiring most ballots be in the hands of county elections officials by 8 p.m. election night may be the prime beneficiaries of the state’s current election laws, requiring counties to have more drop-boxes and publishing a voter guide for primary elections. . .
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OLYMPIA — Last week, Sen. Pam Roach defended herself against allegations that she continues to abuse staff, despite previous warnings and sanctions that for a while kept her out of the GOP caucus.
This week, Undead Olympia, a web site that loves to poke fun at folks in the Legislature, set it to music. (well, sort of.)
OLYMPIA — If state universities want to raise tuition, the Legislature will have to approve it, a letter from a state attorney to a state senator says.
The presidents of the state's six public universities recently told legislative leaders they could freeze tuition for two years if the Legislature would add $225 to the higher education budget. Implicit in that is the prospect of the schools raising tuition if the money isn't forthcoming.
The Legislature has reduced the state's share of funding for higher education in recent years, and tuition has gone up steadily, by double digits in the last two budget cycles.
Two weeks ago, Gov. Chris Gregoire in her final budget proposed no tuition increases and no additional money for the public universities. Legislators aren't bound by Gregoire's budget, but whether they provide something less than the $225 million the presidents are requesting, or no increases at all, they are in the driver's seat on tuition increases, a letter to Sen. Pam Roach from Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Even says.
A majority of the Legislature must approve any tuition increase because of Initiative 1185, which passed in November, Even wrote. That law says a simple majority of both houses must pass any state fee, and tuition is a fee, he said. That matches up with previous attorney general opinions on earlier initiatives that placed restrictions on the ability to raise taxes and fees, he added.
The Legislature could approve specific tuition increases itself, or it could delegate the authority to increase tuition to another agency, Even wrote. But it would have to take some action regarding tuition for it to go up.
Sen. Pam Roach was named a committee chairwoman last month by the new “coalition majority” but it would seem she stil has some 'splaining to do for the way she treats staff, The Associated Press is reporting. Here's Rachel La Corte's account just filed this morning:
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Republican state senator who is set to lead a committee under a new legislative coalition violated a Senate policy on treatment of staff shortly after she was allowed back into the GOP caucus last year, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
A new report says Sen. Pam Roach of
OLYMPIA – A bipartisan group of legislators is pushing a dozen bills to combat human trafficking, particularly among teenage runaways they say are lured into prostitution.
Among the targets of the legislation are ads for “escort services” that appear in the back of some newspapers and on the Internet, and foot massagers.
To read more about the bills, or to see a complete list of bill numbers, prime sponsors and topics, go inside the blog
OLYMPIA — Sen. Pam Roach warns that repealing I-960 will result in a higher percentage of voters supporting a new initiative to reinstate the two-thirds majority needed to raise taxes.
I-960 failed in the city of Seattle, Roach said, but it passed with big margins in other parts of the state.
Washington’s most active initiative sponsor dismissed a suggestion that he run for office rather than run initiative campaigns.
Tim Eyman also rejected Gov. Chris Gregoire’s suggestion that Washington could go the way of California and be “initiatived to death.”
“One or two initiatives a year, tops, ever qualify for the ballot,” Eyman said as he and others filed an initiative to return a requirement that the state needs a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.
The state has such a law now, enacted by voters in 2007 with another Eyman initiative, I-960. But Democrats say they will try to modify or repeal that law before any discussion of raising taxes. Anticipating such a move, Eyman and company filed to give voters a change to reinstate it in November if they can gather enough signatures.