Some treats among the tricks… Not all scary news

current banner

106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  October 12, 2021

Some treats among the tricks… Not all scary news


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As Halloween rapidly approaches, there will be plenty of tricks and treats. I hope it is a safe and enjoyable time for you and your family.

While the past year or two have brought lots of frightening news, from COVID and rising suicide rates to inflation and rising fuel costs to the latest threats from the president and governor to fire many workers due to their personal, healthcare choices, not all the news is scary.

I hope you will find this issue of the Report from Olympia to be a fair and reasoned mix of good news and information that may be troublesome at times yet is vital for you to know.

As always, I welcome your input on any issue relating to state government. Please feel free to call, write or e-mail with your concerns and ideas for better government.

It is an honor to serve as your state senator. 

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Build a Better Tomorrow:

Ribbon-cutting ceremony marks completion of Harvard Road pedestrian bridge

Harvard Ribbon Cutting

From left to right: Mike Gribner, DOT; Senator Mike Padden; Liberty Lake Mayor Cris Kaminskas; and former Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson.

Late last month I had the pleasure of joining the mayor of Liberty Lake and several other local leaders at a ribbon-cutting event to mark the end of construction work on the Harvard Road Bridge over Interstate 90.

This project has been a high priority for our community for some time now. As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am pleased we were able to get some state funding to help bring the Barker to Harvard project to fruition.

In addition to the bridge work, the state Department of Transportation lengthened and realigned the westbound on-ramps. Ryan Overton, the DOT’s eastern region spokesman, told those gathered for the ceremony that lengthening the on-ramps improves safety, in part by adding an additional lane and giving drivers more time to get up to 60 mph before merging onto the interstate.

Video Update:

KOMO News: Deadline for vaccine mandate for state employees, healthcare workers nears

Video capture

Click on the image above to watch KOMO-TV’s coverage.

The deadline for state and local workers, healthcare providers and school employees to get vaccinated is just a few days away. There has been a flurry of court action trying to stop it.

The symbolism is there. Boots being placed on the Capitol steps for workers who face losing their jobs unless Governor Jay Inslee’s vaccination mandate is overturned.

Nathan Arnold, one of the attorneys representing state workers in the lawsuits… filed a contempt of court claim against Inslee’s chief of staff Jamila Thomas for not showing up for a deposition as ordered by the judge in Walla Walla.

…The governor’s office said she didn’t have to because the case was moved from Walla Walla to Thurston County.

Republican Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), a former judge, said that may not be the case. “So, I think in this point there is a good chance, you don’t know for sure, that some sort of sanctions will be imposed against Gov. Inslee’s office.”

Click here to read the full article.

Community News:

Green Bluff growers geared to share apples, pumpkins and cider at annual fall festival

By Greg Mason, Spokesman-Review | October 2, 2021


Michelle Haustein, on left, and her friend Angela Petersen gather a wagon-load each of pumpkins, gourds and decorative dried corn as they make their way through the colorful displays at Sunset Orchard at Green Bluff, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Fall festival fun in the Green Bluff farming community near Mead was a key part of Lexi Westover’s childhood experience.

Specifically, Westover said she and her family frequented Siemers Farm many times starting when she was very young. She fell in love with farming – so much so that she sought to make it her career sometime after graduating Mt. Spokane High School in 2016.

… The fall festival for Hidden Acres is sticking with tradition, offering activities including hay rides, a tire maze, doughnuts and apple and pumpkin picking. Simchuk said the U-pick Honeycrisp orchard, which he procured last spring, has been a big hit with customers.

“We go from mid-September to the end of October out here, and that’s like the entire season for a lot of (farmers) out here,” Simchuk said of the significance of the fall festival.

Click here to read more.


Senate Majority’s obstruction disastrous for Washington's jobs and public safety

Law enforcement weighs in on vaccine mandates

After missing a critical deadline to vote on a historic legislative special session, state Senate leadership finally responded to official inquiries from Senate Freedom Caucus members, who have been leading the effort. In a resolution submitted Aug. 31 to the Senate Rules Committee, the Freedom Caucus asked the Legislature to convene briefly to address the state’s COVID-vaccine mandate and critical public-safety policies. Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig wrote in an email that he does not support even convening the committee for a vote.

“The King County Police Officers Guild is saddened by the loss of the brave men and women whose employment will be terminated for deciding not to take a vaccine,” said Bob Lurry, the Guild’s president. “We are losing experienced law enforcement officers that are very difficult to replace. This heavy handed and ill-timed mandate will accelerate the staffing crisis we are already seeing in policing around the state and will make us all less safe.”

I fully agree. The Inslee administration has taken one of the most extreme positions in the nation on vaccine mandates by not even allowing for testing as an alternative.

Rather than listen to the concerns of law-enforcement organizations, Governor Inslee is actually doubling down on his top-down approach. Firing dedicated public-safety personnel, who are already under tremendous stress due to the nature of their work, not only impacts them but also their families who are dependent on them for food and shelter.

Kreidler's emergency order impacting insurance rates gets overruled

By Elizabeth Hovde, Washington Policy Center | October 9, 2021


Judge Mary Sue Wilson ruled Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler did not have “good cause” to file an emergency order banning the use of credit scores in setting insurance rates. 

Kreidler sought legislation that would have done the same thing just months before. But when his idea, a recurring one, didn’t succeed, he chose to bypass the state’s legislative body and make his desire an emergency order, instead. 

This misuse of power was called out by the Thurston County Superior Court judge on Friday and offers another example of why Washington needs emergency powers reform.  

Kreidler has expressed disappointment with the ruling and says he is weighing his options. The option he should definitely weigh is allowing state lawmakers to have a say.

Click here to read more.

Inslee expected to expand Biden's vaccine mandate for employers, trade group says

By Joey Thompson, Puget Sound Business Journal | October 7, 2021

Washington employers should expect vaccine mandates to pivot from patrons at restaurants and bars to staff at businesses with 50 or more employees, officials from the Washington Hospitality Association said during a recording Wednesday of the trade group's podcast.

For the last month, industry leaders and business owners have been trying to process news of President Joe Biden's mandate that all employers with 100 or more workers will have to require staff to be vaccinated for Covid-19, or set up frequent testing for unvaccinated workers. In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to take workplace mandates one step further.

Click here to read the full story.

Time for property-tax relief!

property tax

Republican budget writers put it this way: “Taxpayers are regularly asked to raise their own taxes by approving local levies. They are rarely given an opportunity to lower their tax burden. So here’s a timely question: If you could vote to exempt the first $250,000 of your property value from state property taxes without harming state-run public services, would you?

“…Since the Legislature adjourned in April, state revenues for the relevant fiscal period are projected to be nearly $6 billion higher than budgeted. During our next regular session, which begins in January, our colleagues on the majority side could spend every dime of the windfall, as they’ve done before.”

Click here to read more.

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!

Phone: (360) 786-7606

Street address: 106 Irv Newhouse Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA 98504

Postal address: PO Box 40404, Olympia, WA 98504

Email address:

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden's Olympia office, which will be open starting Jan. 6, at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton who is the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.