Lives lost in latest DOC scandal

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Report from Olympia |  Aug. 6, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Sometimes one hears a sound so many times that it almost becomes white noise, bleeding into the background and disappearing into the monotony of repetition. Sadly, that has been the case far too often with the issue of mismanagement under Governor Jay Inslee’s watch.

Sometimes it takes a jarring, disturbing news story to shake the public into understanding just how consequential the failure of Inslee to show leadership in correcting these problems can be.

The latest high-profile blunder at the state Department of Corrections is a finding that negligence by the Monroe Correctional Complex head doctor may have contributed to the death of three inmates, and the inadequate care of others.

In this issue of Report from Olympia, you can read more about the Department of Corrections, and learn how other lawmakers and I are working to address the problem and bring more accountability to the executive branch.

Thank you for the honor and privilege of representing you in the Washington State Senate.


Senator Mike Padden

In The News:

Inmate-health scandal more evidence of Inslee leadership failure

Statesman-Examiner | July 29, 2019


Monroe Correctional Complex

Senate Republicans who have been urging sweeping reforms for the agency since 2016 say it is time for Gov. Jay Inslee to show some leadership and address the mismanagement of the agency.

“Incompetent leadership, high-profile blunders, costly lawsuits, inmates being released early and even deaths – that’s the record and legacy of Washington’s state prisons under Governor Inslee’s watch,” said Sen. Mike Padden, the Republican leader on the Senate Law and Justice Committee. “Instead of working to correct these issues, Governor Inslee has been putting up roadblocks and actively halting the progress of those of us who are offering solutions.”

The Spokane Valley lawmaker is one of the Senate Republicans, along with Sen. Keith Wagoner of Sedro-Woolley, preparing new legislation to address alleged Department of Corrections failures.

… Padden, as Senate Law and Justice Committee chairman in 2016, led the effort for an independent Senate investigation into the agency after [thousands of] inmates were released early.

The investigation recommended major reforms, including better monitoring of agency performance by the governor’s office and the hiring of additional programmers qualified to make fixes to agency software. Senate Bill 5294 was passed [by the Senate] in 2017, but was quashed by the Governor’s Office when it reached the House of Representatives.

…Padden said he will sponsor a reform measure again next session, noting that it will need Democrat support.

“Inslee needs to step up to his responsibilities as governor, or at least get out of the way, so those of us who are committed to fixing DOC can get the job done,” Padden said.

To read the full article, click here.

Additional Coverage:

In The News:

Hutton Settlement kicks off centennial celebration with officials, alums, Babe Ruth’s granddaughter

By Jonathan Glover, Spokesman-Review | July 19, 2019

hutton settlement

Folks gather around the L.W. Hutton bronze tribute statue after the unveiling and dedication during L.W. Hutton Day, celebrating 100 years of the Hutton Settlement on Friday. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)


It’s been 91 years since Levi William “L.W.” Hutton last visited his century-old children’s home in Spokane Valley.

But after [last month’s] centennial celebration, in which the bright, bronze statue depicting the late philanthropist was unveiled to the world, you might say he has returned to the bucolic and historic campus that has provided long-term care to kids for a century.

… The settlement, built in 1919, is celebrating 100 years. Built on a 320-acre plot of land down the hill from Arbor Crest Winery, the orphanage, now called a children’s home, has about thirty children and their live-in house parents occupying four large, historic cottages, with several other buildings along the sprawling campus.

There to dedicate the statue, which will greet workers, children and visitors as they drive past the office building on the south side of the lot, were multiple area elected officials including Congresswomen Cathy McMorris Rogers, Spokane Mayor David Condon, Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney and myself..

…” State Sen. Mike Padden was struck by Hutton’s forethought to invest his fortune in the settlement before he passed away in 1928, which has helped keep it afloat over the years without much need for outside funding.”

“Who would have ever thought of that 100 years ago?” he said.

Click here to read the full article.

From the District: Wagstaff Production & Manufacturing Academy


Lance Beck of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce awards scholarships during the Wagstaff Production and Manufacturing Academy graduation ceremony.

Last week, I had the honor of attending a graduation ceremony for the Wagstaff Production & Manufacturing Academy’s career training program. It was a tremendous event. Lance Beck of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce awarded two 1-year scholarships to Spokane Community College to two of the graduating students.

There are three summer “academies” operating in our region this summer. These academies are for local incoming junior and seniors in high school. Avista, Wagstaff, and SCC/Spokane Workforce Council are each leading their own multi-week experience for students to learn about different careers in their industry, job shadow current employees, and pair academic credit to earn a full CTE credit. Each student participated for 40 hours a week for a month and student received a $2,000 stipend.

According to the Spokesman-Review, Wagstaff launched its four-week production and manufacturing academy in July for incoming high school juniors and seniors to learn about engineering, design, welding, production, assembly and management.

“The goal behind this is to give the kids exposure to the whole manufacturing and production process,” Wade Larson, director of human resources for Wagstaff, told the Review. Larson also oversees the academy. “Over the course of four weeks, they are going to experience it all.”

Each of the academies is hosting a graduation celebration. In addition to the one I attended at East Valley High School, there was also a ceremony held on July 25 at SCC Apprenticeship and Training Center and one still to be held this Friday at the NEWTECH Skills Center.

Click here to read the full Spokesman-Review article on the Wagstaff program.


Congress hears update on Washington’s use of remote testimony

By Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center | July 31, 2019


Here is the video of the remote testimony Summit Award presentation.

Recently the U.S. House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress heard testimony about our legislature’s use of remote testimony. This committee in Congress has a heavy Washington State influence. It is chaired by Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-6) and includes Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-1) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-4).

Rep. Kilmer opened the hearing by highlighting Washington’s “innovative” use of remote testimony (video here). During the membership Q&A portion of the hearing, Rep. Newhouse had this exchange with Mike Rohrbach about Washington’s experience with remote testimony (video here).

The 2019 Legislative Session brought significant progress on our goal to provide the use of remote testimony for Washingtonians. First, the Senate decided to make the use of remote testimony a permanent option while the House finally took steps towards embracing this commonsense transparency reform by authorizing a study.

Washington Policy Center honored these accomplishments by awarding its inaugural 'Summit Award' to the legislators responsible for remote testimony expansion (Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, Senator D- Spokane, Senator Mike Padden R-Spokane Valley, Senator Sharon Brown R- Kennewick and former Senator Guy Palumbo D-Maltby.)

It is very exciting to see Congress looking to our state to learn ways to improve citizen access to the legislative process. Hopefully next session we’ll be able to provide even more examples of how remote testimony is working in both the House and Senate.


Congratulations to baseball Hall of Famer, Edgar Martinez!


Last month, Mariners’ ledgend Edgar Martinez officially joined Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame with a ceremony at Cooperstown, New York.

As you may recall, Edgar Martinez visited the Senate during the 2019 session to witness the chamber honor his achievement with a resolution.

Martinez is one of baseball’s class acts, a hero of the sport, and an inspiration to the state. The greatest designated hitter of all time, Martinez was born in Puerto Rico, followed in the footsteps of the late great Roberto Clemente. He enjoyed an outstanding 18-year career in Major League Baseball. All of his major league baseball career was spent with the Mariners organization, a rarity in baseball. Martinez set records for home runs and RBIs by a designated hitter. MLB has named its designated hitter of the year award for him. His good works for charitable organizations earned him the 2004 Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding baseball skills and devotion to the community.

Congratulations Edgar!