OLYMPIA, Wash. - In a procedural move that hasn't been seen since the 1980s, Senate Republicans, who are in the minority, seized control of the Senate floor Friday night and pushed a vote on their proposed budget, outraging Democrats.
The "Ninth Order" allows any bill to be pulled to the floor, even those that haven't had a public hearing.
“Literally last night, a bill was pulled out that people had not seen, the public had not seen, there was not a hearing and we were told we were staying on the floor until the vote was cast, which put people in a very difficult position,” said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown.
“We didn't play shenanigans or any tricks or something, we used the Senate rules,” said Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-8th District.
Republicans were able to get a majority because three Democrats - Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, Sen. Rodney Tom of Medina and Jim Kastama of Puyallup – crossed party lines.
“I don't think the Republicans or the Democrats have a monopoly on the good ideas,” said Sheldon.
“Money doesn't just come out of thin air. We've got to quit the magic tricks, the Enron gimmicks and start realizing that when families have to balance their budgets they have to do it with real dollars, and it's time here at the state level we also practice,” Tom.
Brown says she understands not everyone in her party is always going to agree, but is disappointed with the process.
“We owe each other the responsibility of talking about our differences openly and not surprising each other, that was violated last night,” said Brown.
“I always tell people you've got to understand the game inside Olympia, it's like sausage being made, you like the end product but you don’t like what goes into that sausage and that’s what it is,” said Delvin.
The main concern Democrats have with this budget are the proposed education cuts to K-12 and higher ed. Republicans argue those numbers will be negotiated once this moves to the House.
Brown says while a special session isn't inevitable, it is possible.