Senator under misconduct probe resigns, majority leader says

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The majority leader of the state Senate says a Democratic state senator who was under investigation following allegations of improper conduct — the first test of the chamber’s new workplace policies adopted in the wake of the #MeToo movement — has resigned.

Majority Leader Andy Billig said in a statement Saturday that Sen. Kevin Ranker has stepped down effective immediately.

The Senate has been conducting an outside investigation into Ranker following allegations of improper conduct. Through a public records request, The Associated Press obtained a contract between the Senate and Tara Parker, an investigator with Ogden Murphy Wallace law firm in Seattle, who was hired by the chamber in October.

Ranker has said he told the secretary of the Senate he would cooperate with the investigation. He told the AP he would not comment further while the investigation was underway, but believes he will be exonerated.