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Archives: June 2013

June
27th

Morning update: 4 days left to pass a budget (2nd special session day 16)

The House could take up drunken-driving penalties as early as today after the Senate sent over a new, less strict and less expensive version of that measure.

Today House members could also try again to pass more than $9 billion in transportation taxes and fees, after they failed on the floor Wednesday.

But it would have tough sledding ahead in the Senate, where Majority Leader Rodney Tom said:  “I can’t imagine the citizens of Washington state want us to spend $81/2 billion on a night’s sleep when we haven’t slept in five days.”

Meanwhile, legislative staff are drafting the budget bill,

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June
26th

Transportation taxes go down to rare failure on House floor

The number of “yes” votes on the House voting screen ticked upward, then hovered at 49 for a long and dramatic few seconds — but couldn’t get to 50 and the majority needed to pass.

And with that, a transportation revenue package whose centerpiece is a 10.5 cent gas tax increase fell short, a rare defeat on the House floor, where vote counts usually keep doomed proposals from even showing up.

Backers of road projects, mass transit and ferries had taken a leap of faith only to fall short.

One of the supporters, Rep. Marko Liias,

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June
26th

Shutdown would invalidate government checks for food to moms

State government has notified grocery stores that in the event of a shutdown July 1, the stores won’t be reimbursed for infant formula and other food sold to mothers and pregnant women using government vouchers.

“We won’t be able to reimburse the stores, so stores won’t be accepting them,” said Department of Health spokesman Tim Church. “This is really important to moms and toddlers to keep them healthy.”

It’s still an open question whether some stores might honor the Women, Infants and Children checks anyway. And with a deal possibly at hand in the Legislature,

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June
26th

Details elude lawmakers, but tentative plan includes education funding, public-works fund transfers

There are still disagreements on policy in the budget — enough that Democrats are saying there’s no deal yet – but most of the numbers in the state budget have fallen into place.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said negotiators have settled on a deal that will provide more than $1 billion to meet the McCleary court decision ordering more funding for public schools, while also providing enough money to universities and colleges to keep them from raising tuition.

The budget would raise some tax revenue by resolving a dispute over tax breaks on telecommunications companies but would not make general

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June
26th

State senate GOP-led coalition says budget deal has been reached; House Dems say not yet

UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: Another player joins the “no deal” team. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee says the governor’s office has not heard any word of a budget agreement being reached. Here’s the statement just sent out by Inslee spokesman David Postman:

I understand that the Senate majority has announced that there is a budget agreement.  No one has reported to the governor or his budget director that there is an agreement. And, in fact, the House has told us that it is still negotiating with the Senate at this hour. We believe we are close,

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June
26th

House GOP support flagging for transportation package

The House plans a vote today on transportation funding, but support among minority Republicans seems to be peeling off.

Federal Way Rep. Linda Kochmar was one of two House Republicans who had publicly indicated they are open to a package of tax increases to fund roads — the other is Rep. Hans Zeiger of Puyallup — and one of perhaps four that Democrats were eyeing as possible supporters. 

But Kochmar said this morning: “I’m probably going to be a ‘no’ unless a miracle happens.”

She said Democrats didn’t agree to enough Republican amendments or enough reforms to the way the Department of Transportation spends money.

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June
26th

Morning update: 5 days left to pass a budget (2nd special session day 15)

There’s no budget deal yet, with time growing short. With no budget July 1, much of state government would shut down, but the deadline for a deal is sooner because it takes a couple of days to prepare documents for a vote.

Lawmakers say they are down to minor details. But one seemingly minor detail — a study of how much fish people eat — seems to be hanging up the process, the Herald’s Jerry Cornfield reports.

If the Legislature is still hanging around Tuesday, it could be at full strength. That’s when the Pierce County Council is due to appoint a new House member. Republicans last night made Dick Muri their first choice for the seat. Read more »

June
25th

Residents of Pacific vote to recall Mayor Cy Sun

Residents of Pacific voted Tuesday to end Mayor Cy Sun’s days in office.

Initial results of the special election to oust the embattled public official showed residents voted 836-405 in favor of recalling Sun. Pacific has 2,900 registered voters.

Barring a miraculous shift in returns over the next few days, the certification of the election July 9 will end the tenure of Sun, who was elected through a write-in campaign at the end of 2011.

Sun did not return The News Tribune’s requests for comment Tuesday.

City Council president Leanne Guier said Pacific’s struggles won’t end with Sun being recalled.

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