OLYMPIA – Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, has been named ranking minority member on the Senate Law and Justice Committee as this month’s election forces reorganization of the Senate.
The ranking minority position is the top Republican slot on the Law and Justice Committee, which Padden has chaired for the past five years. Padden also will serve on the Senate K-12 and Early Education Committee.
Substantial changes are being made to committee assignments in the Senate as a result of the Nov. 7 election, which gave the Senate Democratic Caucus a narrow 25-24 majority in the Washington Senate. Committee chairmanships are traditionally awarded to members of the majority party. New assignments will take effect after election results are certified.
Padden, a former Spokane County District Court judge, said the ranking minority position on the Law and Justice Committee will allow him to maintain his focus on matters of law, the judiciary and law enforcement. “I am going to be able to continue working on public safety issues – particularly on property crimes, a major issue for our area, and impaired driving,” Padden said.
Padden noted that his seatmate, Rep. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, serves on the House Education Committee. That means Padden’s new education assignment will give the 4th Legislative District representation on the two legislative committees that oversee public schools. Big issues next year will include proposals to improve the quality of public education. Padden said he also will seek to ensure that daycare facilities operated by private entities and religious organizations are protected from excessive regulation.