Here in Washington, we hold the record for not electing a Republican governor, 32 years. That’s because Democrats around here are somewhat sane; Washington remains one of only nine states without a state income tax.
But, in a shocker, Republicans may have just taken control of the state senate:
Something unprecedented happened in Olympia on Monday, but state legislative leaders disagree about whether it represents an innovative new governing model or an arrogant power grab.
Democratic State Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon announced they would create a majority power-sharing coalition with Senate Republicans, throwing control of the chamber into question.
While the new coalition pledged to start preparing for next month’s session, Democratic leaders who now hold a slim majority signaled they will fight the proposal.
Tom, of Medina, and Sheldon, of Potlatch in Mason County, proposed they become the Senate’s new majority leader and president pro tempore, respectively, with committee chairmanships split equally between Republicans and Democrats.
All 23 Republican senators have signed on, theoretically giving the coalition a one-vote majority in the 49-member chamber.
The proposal, which Tom said he and Sheldon have been thinking about since joining with Republicans to control the budget process last session, would effectively eliminate the Republican Caucus when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14.
In its place would be the Majority Coalition Caucus, composed of all 23 Republicans and Tom and Sheldon. Democrats would constitute the minority caucus.
This is a pure power grab. But it’s interesting that these two Democrats felt comfortable making it, and throwing control to Republicans.