Story Summary

Washington Legislature: 2014

The Washington Legislature is a bicameral body, composed of the lower Washington House of Representatives, comprised of 98 representatives, and the upper Senate, with 49 senators.

The Legislature begins each legislative session annually on the second Monday in January.  In odd-numbered years, such as when the state budget is debated upon, the Legislature meets for 105 days, and, in even-numbered years for 60 days. The governor of Washington, if necessary, can call legislators in for a special session for a 30-day period at any period in the year. Legislators also can call themselves into special session by a two-thirds vote by both the House and Senate.

In 2014, the Legislature is projected to be in session from Jan. 13 through March 12.

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Supporters of the bill held signs outside the state Capitol in Olympia. (Photo: House Democratic Caucus)

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed into law the state’s version of the “Dream Act” to expand financial aid to undocumented students who were brought into the United States illegally.

State Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, one of the sponsors of the REAL Hope Act, attended the signing ceremony in the governor’s office.

“I’m proud that we have been able to find a solution to this issue,” Bailey said in a news conference. “These students were raised in our state, have gone through our K-12 schools and now have chance to afford college in our state.”

On Feb. 18, the House of Representatives gave final legislative approval to the bill, which also provides an additional $5 million to the State Need Grant Program for financial aid for qualified low-income students.

Inslee had promised to sign the measure into law.

“The Dream Act represents a new future for many aspiring Washington students,” Inslee said in a written statement on Feb. 18. “While we’ve opened the doors of our colleges and universities to students from all walks of life, too many still face an insurmountable financial barrier.

“This bill ensures that the young men and women we’ve invested in at our high schools and who aspire to become productive American citizens will now have fair access to the financial support they need to turn their dreams into reality,” the governor said. “This is a landmark achievement for the 2014 session. I appreciate the hard work of the legislators and students who have been working on this for so long and who helped pass this bill. I look forward to signing this bill and celebrating a big step forward for thousands of young Washingtonians.”

The new law could grant scholarship money to “any person who has completed the full senior year of high school,” and had lived in Washington state at least three years.

EDMONDS — State Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, announced Tuesday he is resigning from the Legislature, effective immediately, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sen. Paull Shin, D-21Shin, 78, was elected to the state Senate in 1998 and represented the 21st Legislative District, which includes parts of Edmonds, Mukilteo and parts of Everett and Lynnwood. He also served in the state House of Representatives from 1993-94 before stepping down to make an unsuccessful run for Congress.

Prior to his political career, Shin was a college professor for 31 years, teaching East Asian studies at the University of Washington, Western Washington University and Shoreline Community College.

In his letter to the Gov. Jay Inslee, his legislative colleagues and his constituents, Shin said, ““It is with the deepest regret that I resign from the Senate. I have loved this place and the work we do here on behalf of the people of Washington. Unfortunately, I have determined with the assistance of my family that recent health problems and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner they deserve.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your help and support over the years. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a member of the State Senate and work with such wonderful colleagues. I am grateful for the camaraderie, the work we accomplished, and the valuable lessons learned. I would also like to thank my wife and children for their love, support, and shared belief in the importance of service. Most of all, I would like to express my thanks to the citizens of the 21st Legislative District, who placed their trust in my stewardship for all of these years; it has been my honor and privilege to serve them for the past 17 years. I look forward to assisting the Senate in making this transition as smooth as possible.”

During the Korean War, Shin was adopted by an American soldier and brought to the United States. After getting a GED, Shin went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and then a Ph.D from UW.

SEATTLE — The King County Council on Monday approved the appointments of three people to fill vacancies in the Washington Legislature from districts in King County.

capitolFormer state Rep. Jamie Pedersen is the new state senator for the 43rd Legislative District, filling the vacancy created with the election of state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, as mayor of Seattle. Brady Walkinshaw was selected to fill Pedersen’s seat in the Washington House of Representatives.

Pedersen, D-Seattle, has been a member of the state House for the 43rd Legislative District since 2006.

Walkinshaw most recently was a program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A graduate of Princeton University, Walkinshaw has worked on issues of food and nutritional security abroad, and has been active locally on a number of civic issues, the King County Council said in a news release.

Walkinshaw will be joined in the state House by SeaTac Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson, who was appointed by the council to the vacancy in the 33rd Legislative District created by the election of state Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines, to the King County Council.

According to the state constitution, Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) of the affected political party nominate and submit three names to the county council in the event of a vacancy. The Democratic PCOs of the 43rd submitted Pedersen as their preferred candidate for the Senate. Walkinshaw was the top choice of the PCOs for the House seat. Gregerson, along with Elizabeth Albertson, and Debra Omaha Sternberg were interviewed by the Democratic PCOs in the 33rd Legislative District.

Pedersen, Walkinshaw and Gregerson will all serve one year and will have to stand for election to full terms in 2014.