The brief tie in Washington’s state Senate is over.
Leaders from five Eastern Washington counties appointed state Rep. Shelly Short, a Republican from Addy, to the Senate on Monday. She replaces Republican Brian Dansel, who resigned last week to join the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A Republican-led coalition normally has a 25-24 majority in the chamber. But Dansel’s resignation left the Senate at a 24-24 draw until Short’s appointment could be made.
Senate Democrats on Friday tried to take advantage of the tie to force a floor vote on legislation dealing with school levies, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
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Commissioners from Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan counties met Monday morning to approve her appointment. Next up for those commissioners: Naming someone to replace Short in the state House.
Democrats control the House by a 50-48 majority.
Short’s switch to the Senate does not completely end talk of a tie in that chamber, however.
State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, took a temporary job with the Environmental Protection Agency last week and is splitting time between the Washington, D.C., and Olympia.
Senate Democrats have floated the idea of taking advantage of Ericksen’s absences from the Senate to bypass Republican leadership and force floor votes on legislation.