Washington State Senate

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Washington State Senate

Seal of Washington.jpg
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 9, 2012
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Brad Owen, (D)
Majority Leader:   Lisa Brown, (D)
Minority Leader:   Mike Hewitt, (R)
Members:  49
   Democratic Party (24)
Republican Party (25)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art II, Section 2, Washington Constitution
Salary:   $42,106/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 2, 2010 (25 seats)
Next election:  November 6, 2012 (24 seats)
Redistricting:  Washington State Redistricting Commission
Meeting place:
Dome GS-842-26.jpg
The Washington State Senate is the upper house of the Washington State Legislature. It includes 49 senators. Each member represents an average of 137,236 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 120,288 residents.[2]

The Washington state senators have no term limits. Senatorial terms last four years. Senators are elected from the same legislative districts as are members of the Washington State House of Representatives. Each district elects two representatives but only one senator.


Article II of the Washington Constitution establishes when the Washington State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 12 of Article II allows the dates of regular sessions to be determined by statute. Section 12 limits the length of regular sessions to 105 days in odd-numbered years and 60 days in even-numbered years.

Section 12 also establishes rules for convening special sessions of the Legislature. It states that special sessions can be called by the Governor of Washington or by resolution of two-thirds of the members of each legislative house. Special sessions are not to exceed 30 days in length.


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate will be in session from January 9 through March 8.

Major issues

Heading into the session the state faces a $1.5 billion budget gap. Additionally, Governor Chris Gregoire is pushing for a half-cent sales tax, while the legislature is considering a gas-tax increase to pay for roads and transportation related needs.[3]

The legislature passed a bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Gov. Gregoire signed it into law in February but opponents immediately filed a Referendum to try and put the law on hold.[4]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 10 through April 24. [5]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate was in regular session from January 11 to March 11. Additionally, the Legislature was in special session from March 15 to April 12 to deal with issues related to the economy and the state budget.[6][7]



See also: Washington State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Washington State Senate will be held in Washington on November 6, 2012. A total of 24 seats will be up for election.

The signature filing deadline is June 8, 2012 and the primary election will be held on August 7, 2012.


See also: Washington State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Washington's State Senate were held in Washington on November 2, 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was June 11, 2010. The primary election day was August 17, 2010.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $7,259,812 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [8]

Donor Amount
Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Washington $376,889
Washington State Republican Party $345,668
Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte $295,049
Bennett, Gregg D $136,540
King County Republican Central Cmte $111,251
Washington State Democratic Central Cmte- Non-Exempt $103,124
Washington State Democratic Party $88,239
Premera Blue Cross $36,500
6th District Legislative Cmte $33,500
Washington State Dental Association $31,200


Section 7 of Article 2 of the Washington State Constitution states, "No person shall be eligible to the legislature who shall not be a citizen of the United States and a qualified voter in the district for which he is chosen."


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
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If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the Board of County Commissioners where the vacant seat is located has the responsibility to select a replacement. The state central committee of the political party that last held the seat must submit a list of three candidates to the Board of County Commissioners representing the vacant district. A selection must be made within 60 days after the vacancy happened[9].



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

In 2011, members of the Washington Senate are paid the same as in 2010.

As of 2010, members of the Washington Senate are paid $42,106/year. Legislators receive $90/day per diem.[10]

The $42,106/year that Washington senators are paid as of 2010 is an increase over the $36,311/year they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007. Per diem is the same.[11]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Washington legislators assume office the first day of session.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 25
Total 49


This image shows the state capitol under construction in the 1920s.

The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate, but only votes in the event of a tie. In the absence of the Lieutenant Governor, the President pro tempore served as presiding officer. The President pro tempore is elected by the majority party caucus, but must then be confirmed by the entire Senate.[12][13]

Current leadership

Position Representative Party
President of the Senate Brad Owen Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate President Pro Tempore Margarita Prentice Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Vice President Pro Tempore Paull Shin Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader Karen Fraser Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Tracey Eide Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader Vacant
State Senate Majority Whip Vacant Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Whip Kevin Ranker Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Linda Evans Parlette Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Floor Leader Mark Schoesler Ends.png Republican
State Senate Deputy Minority Floor Leader Jim Honeyford Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Whip Doug Ericksen Ends.png Republican
State Senate Deputy Minority Whip Jerome Delvin Ends.png Republican

List of current members

District Representative Party Residence
1 Rosemary McAuliffe Electiondot.png Democratic Bothell
2 Randi Becker Ends.png Republican Eatonville
3 Lisa Brown Electiondot.png Democratic Spokane
4 Mike Padden Ends.png Republican Spokane Valley
5 Cheryl Pflug Ends.png Republican Maple Valley
6 Michael Baumgartner Ends.png Republican Spokane
7 Bob Morton Ends.png Republican Pierre Lake
8 Jerome Delvin Ends.png Republican Richland
9 Mark Schoesler Ends.png Republican Ritzville
10 Mary Margaret Haugen Electiondot.png Democratic Camano Island
11 Margarita Prentice Electiondot.png Democratic Skyway
12 Linda Evans Parlette Ends.png Republican Wenatchee
13 Janéa Holmquist Ends.png Republican Moses Lake
14 Curtis King Ends.png Republican Yakima
15 Jim Honeyford Ends.png Republican Sunnyside
16 Mike Hewitt Ends.png Republican Walla Walla
17 Don Benton Ends.png Republican Vancouver
18 Ann Rivers Ends.png Republican Vancouver
19 Brian Hatfield Electiondot.png Democratic Raymond
20 Dan Swecker Ends.png Republican Rochester
21 Paull Shin Electiondot.png Democratic Edmonds
22 Karen Fraser Electiondot.png Democratic Olympia
23 Christine Rolfes Electiondot.png Democratic Kitsap County
24 James Hargrove Electiondot.png Democratic Hoquiam
25 Jim Kastama Electiondot.png Democratic Puyallup
26 Derek Kilmer Electiondot.png Democratic Gig Harbor
27 Debbie Regala Electiondot.png Democratic Tacoma
28 Mike Carrell Ends.png Republican Lakewood
29 Steve Conway Electiondot.png Democratic Tacoma
30 Tracey Eide Electiondot.png Democratic Federal Way
31 Pam Roach Ends.png Republican Auburn
32 Maralyn Chase Electiondot.png Democratic Lake Forest Park
33 Karen Keiser Electiondot.png Democratic Des Moines
34 Sharon Nelson Electiondot.png Democratic West Seattle
35 Tim Sheldon Electiondot.png Democratic Potlach
36 Jeanne Kohl-Welles Electiondot.png Democratic Seattle
37 Adam Kline Electiondot.png Democratic Seattle
38 Nick Harper Electiondot.png Democratic Everett
39 Val Stevens Ends.png Republican Olympia
40 Kevin Ranker Electiondot.png Democratic Orcas Island
41 Steve Litzow Ends.png Republican Mercer Island
42 Doug Ericksen Ends.png Republican Bellingham
43 Ed Murray Electiondot.png Democratic Seattle
44 Steve Hobbs Electiondot.png Democratic Lake Stevens
45 Andy Hill Ends.png Republican Kirkland
46 Dave Frockt Electiondot.png Democratic Seattle
47 Joe Fain Ends.png Republican Kent
48 Rodney Tom Electiondot.png Democratic Medina
49 Craig Pridemore Electiondot.png Democratic Vancouver

Senate committees

The Washington State Senate has 15 standing committees:

External links