2 Democrats to work with GOP to control state Senate

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Two Democrats in the Washington state Senate are abandoning their caucus and will now work with Republicans to control the chamber.

Officials said Monday that Sen. Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch have decided to caucus with the GOP.

The new coalition will control the Senate, pushing conservative budgeting. Republicans will chair six committees, including the panel that controls the state budget. Democrats will control another six committees while the parties will co-chair three others.

One of the Republican committee chairs is Sen. Pam Roach, who was kicked out of her caucus two years ago because of accusations of mistreating staff. She was allowed back in this year during the Republican budget coup last year, but she is still barred from interacting with Senate staff.