Honeyford presides during state Senate voting

Sunnyside man takes the gavel for the first time

Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside takes the podium to preside over the state Senate during the first full day of voting.

Washington State Senate
Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside takes the podium to preside over the state Senate during the first full day of voting.

— A Sunnyside resident led the State Senate during its first full day of voting on Monday.

Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, served as presiding officer of the state Senate since his election earlier this year as Senate vice president pro tempore.

“It was an honor to help conduct the people’s business from a new vantage point — the front of the Senate chamber — and I look forward to serving in this role more as we go throughout the session,” Honeyford said.

Honeyford, who has served 22 years in the legislature, presides when neither the lieutenant governor, who doubles as president of the Senate, nor the Senate’s president pro tempore are available.

Monday was the first day set aside solely for voting in the Senate chamber this session, and it wasn’t long before the Senate president pro tem handed the gavel to Honeyford.

Over the next 90 minutes he presided over the passage of more than a half-dozen pieces of legislation, before returning to his desk on the floor of the Senate chamber to ask for support of a bill he had introduced.

“This was a great opportunity to get a feel for the flow of the debates and the voting,” he said. “The full Senate has a limited number of days to act on bills, and the presiding officer needs to keep legislation moving through efficiently.”

The first bill brought for a vote after Honeyford took the gavel dealt with collecting blood samples to determine alcohol or drug content.

Two senators changed their votes on the bill – requiring them to stand and be called upon by Honeyford.

During debate on the following bill, two other senators had their microphones quit temporarily, leading Honeyford to call a timeout after the vote while the audio system was rebooted.

“It’s important to make sure every senator who wishes to speak and vote in accordance with our rules is able to do so,” he said.

The Senate selected Honeyford for the vice president pro tempore post last month on the opening day of the 2017 legislative session.


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