Senate coalition formed
Critic: Power-sharing arrangement 'a false bipartisanship'
By STEVE BROWN
OLYMPIA -- The Washington State Senate will operate under new management this session.
On opening day Jan. 14, by a 25-23 vote, Senate Resolution 8601 put into place a coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, who said they will bring a new kind of bipartisanship to the Capitol.
Under the arrangement, six Senate committees will be chaired by Republicans, six by Democrats and three by co-chairmen, one from each party.
Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said the new rules will bring "an unprecedented level of cooperating" to the Senate.
However, Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, called the proposal "a false bipartisanship," and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, called it "a coup" and a "BINO -- Bipartisanship In Name Only."
Because the governing structure had not been established beforehand, the Senate could not name appointments to committees.
Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, a longtime farmer and legislator, will be the Senate Republican leader for this session and next.