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Archives: Feb. 2012


Morning update Day 51: Senate budget due mid-morning today

Sen. Ed Murray plans to reveal his supplemental budget plan for 2011-13 at 10:30 a.m. today and public education is reportedly spared any further cuts. Andrew Garber at the Times has the story here, quoting the Seattle Democrat who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Links to details in the budgets, and comparisons, can be found here.

That outcome for education would stand in contrast to a House Democratic budget issued last week that avoided a general tax increase but did cut about $65 million from higher education and lesser amounts from K-12 programs not deemed part of basic education. Minority Republicans’ alternative plan did not spare all education programs, either.

But like the House Democrats’ plan, Murray’s proposal is not expected to borrow or issue bonds to pay for health care programs that can receive large federal subsidies if kept alive until 2014.

It is more likely he proposes the delay in some K-12 allocations for local school districts, which Republicans are turning into a major bone of contention now that a tax proposal for the ballot is falling off the table. The House Democrats’ plan pushes some $404 million for public schools into the next budget cycle that begins July 1, 2013.  Read more »


Obama signs bill to transfer federal park land to Quileute tribe

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama today signed a bill that will transfer 785 acres of federal park land along the Pacific Ocean to the Quileute Indian tribe, allowing members to move to higher ground to avoid a possible tsunami.

The White House announced the move in a statement Monday afternoon, saying the president’s signature will allow the land in the Olympic National Park “to be held in trust for the benefit” of the tribe.

It’s the last step in a long process that involved members of the Washington state delegation, mainly Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Norm Dicks, who

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Morning update: Day 50

Today is the last day for budget committees to advance legislation, with the exception of their work on the budget itself — which could get a House floor vote as early as today — and anything deemed necessary to implement it. Major side issues include proposed changes to government workers’ pensions and health insurance, proposals for the state to take on more debt (or less), and loosening of environmental regulations.

With 11 days left, here’s our look ahead to the endgame and one borrowing option floating around in Olympia that lawmakers could pull in case of emergency.

Among the

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House ‘jobs’ bills on the move (on one leg only)

The Washington jobs-stimulus package moved out of the House Capital Budget Committee early Friday, but not the way chairman Hans Dunshee might have wanted. Votes on three bills in the plan fell along party lines – with Dunshee and other majority Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The proposal, which is supposed to create 22,300 jobs by kick-starting hundreds of projects in every corner of the state in the spring, may be in trouble.

Republicans objected to the way lottery revenues would be used to pay for bonds for public school construction projects, according to Republican Rep. Judy

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Washington state House pays underwhelming tribute to the late Henry “Scoop” Jackson

The event was supposed to informally kick off a series of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the longtime Democratic congressman.

Henry Jackson died suddenly in 1983 and had served 12 years in the U.S. House and 31 years in the U.S. Senate before he died. He was a leader on defense issues and foreign policy but was also an environmentalist who is credited with such things as the creation of the the wilderness act and expansion of public lands. Jackson was twice a

The late Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson arriving at Stadium Bowl in Tacoma for Earth Day, 1970 (Jerry Buck/TNT)

candidate for the presidency and was said to have been then-Sen. John Kennedy’s first choice for vice president, a selection that went instead to Lyndon Johnson.

Along with the late U.S. Sen. Warren Magnuson, Jackson is considered one of the giant of state politics and of the Demcoratic party.

With House Republicans still in closed caucus meeting with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, majority Democrats took up the resolution. With the chambers half empty the Speaker Pro Tem Jim Moeller did not even allow the resolution to be read in full, resorting to the procedure of having the clerk read only the first and last

No speeches were allowed and after recognizing Jackson’s children Peter Jackson and Anna Marie Jackson Laurence – in the gallery the House Democrats went into their own closed-door caucus. The family was invited in to caucus.

House Democratic spokeswoman Melinda McCrady said the House has policies to control the amount of time spent on such resolutions. Leaders agree before session which will be done on the floor and with speeches from members. The rest are adopted in the Rules Committee or from the rostrum.

This resolution was not brought forward until after those decisions had been made, McCrady said. Even recognizing the family in the gallery was an exception to normal procedure for resolutions not on the list.

This is a picture Rep. Reuven Carlyle sent out on his Twitter account today of him with his mother Joan Hadiyah Carlyle and Scoop Jackson

I asked Rep. Reuven Carlyle about the brisk treatment. Carlyle had been a Senate page for Jackson and was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution. He appeared upset but said he had no idea why the event was handled the way it way.

Just a few weeks ago the Democrat-controlled Senate had conducted a similar event for former Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton. The resolution was read in full, senators offered congratulations and Gorton was allowed to address the Senate.

Here is the text of the resolution that wasn’t read on the House floor Friday Read more »


Newt Gingrich: WA doing the wrong thing but ‘doing it the right way’ on gay marriage

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talked to state lawmakers and the news media in a stop at the Capitol Campus.

Gingrich talks to reporters at the Associated Press office in Olympia./ PETER CALLAGHAN

Asked about Washington and Maryland legalizing gay marriage, Gingrich said:

At least that they’re doing it the right way, which is going to the voters and giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will. I don’t agree with it. I would vote no. … But at least they’re doing it the right way.


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Sen. Ed Murray expects to roll out Democratic budget, not joint effort

The public will see a Senate budget Tuesday and its lead author says he expects it to be a Democratic budget, not a joint effort with Republicans.

Last year Seattle Democrat Ed Murray and Ridgefield Republican Joe Zarelli produced a bipartisan two-year budget in the Senate. This year, they have both come up with proposals, but haven’t been able to reach agreement on how to merge them.

“So far the Republicans haven’t been interested in that proposal,” Murray told me today, speaking about his own proposal.

And vice versa. “I don’t have the votes for their proposal in my caucus, to

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Former Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney agrees to pay fine for mail piece

The state’s campaign watchdog decided Bunney’s election-year mailing crossed the line separating a taxpayer-funded newsletter and a campaign ad.

Fifteen months after coming up short in the 2010 campaign for state House, Bunney has agreed to pay an $850 fine, plus another $850 that will be suspended if no more violations  turn up. The Public Disclosure Commission approved the settlement today on a 3-0 vote.

The Republican former councilman from Lake Tapps followed county rules that restrict mailings after July 31 — a deadline the council changed to May 31 after the flap over Bunney’s mailer. But the PDC says he

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