|WA State Capital- Olympia|
Last night was a "Roll Call Hall of Shame" according to Rep Gerry Pollett (D-46)at the State Capital. Democrats who watched TVW last night witnessed a rather shocking display of disloyalty when three Senate Democrats crossed the "aisle" in a "take-over" move by Senate Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Sen Ed Murray issued this statement early this morning on the Senate Democrats Blog about the actions of the renegades.
The three Senators who joined forces with Republicans were Jim Kastama (D-25, Puyallup), Tim Sheldon(D-35, Potlatch) and Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue). This maneuver was considered a rarely used tactic. But according to the Blog "Northwest Progressive Advocate"
Washington State Senate Republicans, acting in concert with three Democrats in Name Only (Jim Kastama, Rodney Tom, and Tim Sheldon) have seized control of the floor of the Legislature’s upper chamber, effectively turning the remainder of the Senate Democratic caucus into the minority party with a week left to go in the 2012 regular session.......
.......The Republican takeover of the Senate all but guarantees that there will need to be a thirty-day special session called to continue working on a supplemental operating budget. House Democrats have made it plainly clear that the Senate Republicans’ budget proposal will be dead on arrival in the House, and Governor Chris Gregoire – whose signature is needed to enact any budget – has also strongly condemned it.The end result, for the time being is that Senate Republicans with their three Democratic allies, have virtually ensured a special session and have in effect hijacked the budget process.
Publicola summed it up -
Republican budget leader Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-18, Ridgefield) passed his budget shortly after midnight, Saturday morning, 25-24, with three Democrats joining all 22 Republicans in an impressively disciplined, well-calibrated series of votes starting Friday afternoon as the GOP wrested control away from the Democratic majority.
So why does this matter you ask? Because a lot is at stake. Education, Environment, funding for the "social safety net", and everything else that the State government does is all at risk. Many items that people care about are in effect, being held hostage by this action.
This happened amidst other earthshaking political developments this week. Congressman Norm Dicks announced his intention to retire, and two long-time Seattle Democratic Representatives also announced their retirement. Rep Phyllis Guitierrez-Kenney (D-46, N Seattle) and Rep Marylou DickersonD-36, Ballard). have both served in Olympia for over a decade.
The drama will continue for the rest of the session, which had been scheduled to end next week, but may not, after last night's happenings.
And of course, today are the Republican Caucuses!