OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A state Senate panel has removed sanctions against a Republican lawmaker despite fresh allegations that she mistreated staff members in the Legislature.

The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee decided Tuesday night that Sen. Pam Roach can now resume direct contact with staff. Republican Sen. Don Benton, who chairs the committee, declined to discuss the reasoning.

The change allows Roach to serve as chair of a Senate committee focused on government operations.

Documents previously obtained by The Associated Press concluded that Roach violated the Senate's policy in March by verbally attacking a Senate Republican staffer charged with upholding sanctions against Roach. Those sanctions from 2010 came after an investigation determined that she had mistreated staff.

Roach is a key vote in a new Republican-leaning coalition in the Senate. That coalition has only a one-vote advantage in the chamber.
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