Lt. Gov. Brad Owen gestures during a hearing where he raised questions about the state's handling of ethics charges against elected officials.
Sen. Pam Roach feels Lt. Gov. Brad Owen's pain. So does Sen. Don Benton.
Owen's pain is a $15,000 fine that the Washington Executive Ethics Board levied against him last September for running his private anti-drug program out of his public office. The fine has $5,000 suspended with the assumption of no future ethics infractions, with the remaining $10,000 to be paid in monthly installments over two years. The board's investigation lasted from 2012 to 2014.
That fine prompted two state senators to introduce bipartisan bills on the subject this session.
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, wants to expand the definition of a state official's duties to include those that are "intended to protect, promote, educate, and serve the citizens of the state of Washington." The practical result would be that Owen's work with children could be considered as part of his duties as lieutenant governor.