September 5, 2013
The Washington Legislature had three big tasks this year to complete—adopt a budget for the next biennium, resolve the state Supreme Court’s requirement in the McCleary case that the legislature live up to the constitutional requirement to “amply provide for the education of all children”, and to work out all the details of the Medicaid expansion enabled by the federal Affordable Care Act.
Following the November 2012 elections, both the House of Representatives and the Senate continued to be controlled by Democrats, although the Senate Democrats had a very slim majority (26-23). That majority in the Senate changed when Democratic Senators Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon voted to caucus with the Republicans, creating a new “Majority Coalition Caucus” with a 25-24 majority. Under the new Majority Coalition Caucus, the Senate committees were divided with Democrats in control of six committees; Republicans in control of six committees, and three committees evenly split with Co-Chairs. Senator Tom served as the Majority Coalition Leader, and Senator Sheldon as President Pro Tempore.
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