State Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) was selected Monday to serve as chairman of the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee after two Democratic Party Senators announced they would caucus with Republicans, shiftting the balance of power to the minority party.
According to the Seattle Times, "The coup" would install Democrats Sen. Rodney Tom of Bellevue as the body’s majority leader and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch as the president pro tempore.
Tom, who represents parts of Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond in the 48th Legislative District, said in an Olympia news conference that Democrats and Republicans would each chair six committees under the proposal, with a majority of just one vote. Three other committees would be evenly split.
Republicans would chair some of the most important committees, however, said the Times. Hill, who represents parts of Redmond, Kirkland and Woodinville in the 45th Legislative District, would chair the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, and Steve Litzow of Mercer Island would chair the early learning and K-12 education committee.
The Senate’s new majority, calling themselves the "Majority Coalition Caucus" will hold the power in the senate when legislators convene for the 2013 session.