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Morning update: Day 39

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Feb. 17, 2011 at 9:26 am with No Comments »
February 17, 2011 9:28 am

Good morning. A deal on a supplemental budget is scheduled to be forwarded to the floor by a conference committee this morning. It needs final votes Friday in the Senate and House to pass.

Senate Democrats and Republicans and House Democrats are largely on board with the deal, with House Republicans balking over retroactive cuts to school districts and other concerns.

The $367 million plan reduces enrollments in health insurance for adults (the Basic Health Plan) and undocumented children (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) but saves both programs. It slashes cash grants to disabled, childless adults to $174 a month. It grabs money from student aid grants, forcing universities to fill the gap with tuition money.

The deal also moves forward with $2.7 million in immediate reductions to communications staff across state government and managers in the Department of Social and Health Services, which the Senate had sought.

Today is the last day policy committees are meeting in the House to take up House bills, so some bills will be dead by the end of the day.

Among the bills they’re considering for votes:

  • A change to the smoking ban in public places to exempt cigar lounges like El Gaucho in Tacoma. The House Business committee just passed the bill, 10-3.
  • SB 5297, which would increase the filing fee for initiatives and referenda and would require paid signature gatherers to register with the secretary of state. It’s up in Senate Gov Ops, where Tim Eyman says Sens. Pam Roach and Don Benton will try to defeat it by introducing dozens of amendments.
  • HB 1362, which would provide a foreclosure mediation process for homeowners who request it. It’s up in House Judiciary.
  • HB 1246, which would ban some kinds of flavored tobacco, and HB 1363, which would regulate ultraviolet tanning beds. They are up in House Health Care.
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