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Category: Legislature

June
28th

UPDATE: Senate passes budget on 44-to-4 vote; House votes 81-to-11 to send to Gov. Inslee

UPDATE 6:40 p.m.: The House passed the budget, sending it to the governor. Eleven Republicans voted no.

The lopsided House and Senate votes add up to a combined 125-15 margin in support of the compromise plan.

Original post:

The compromise state budget deal just passed the Senate on an overwhelming vote, with only four senators voting no: two Democrats, Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell and Bob Hasegawa of Seattle, and two Republicans, John Smith of Colville and Mike Padden of Spokane Valley.

The budget came in for mostly praise — after some critical speeches from conservatives like Smith who would have preferred to add a study of how much fish people

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June
28th

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

… Could “Fish Consumption II” be on the way? Is the controversy over fish that sidetracked budget progress earlier this week about to be replayed?

We should find out soon, but don’t hold your breath. Yes, amendments to the budget have been prepared in the Senate that would restore a study of people’s fish-eating habits. (Background here from Jerry Cornfield  on Boeing’s push for the study and Democrats’ opposition.) And yes, the insistence on the study could blow up Thursday’s budget deal if passed.

But Colville Republican Sen. John Smith, the author of one of the amendments (the other is from

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June
27th

UPDATE: Some vague budget strategies fall out; others fall in

UPDATE 10:25 a.m. 6/28: The budget contains at least $190 million in unspecified savings.

In addition to the $140 million in reversions mentioned below, it assumes agencies will save $30 million through lean management techniques, $5 million from more efficient use of computer technology and $5 million from more efficient delivery of back-office services to agencies.

Then there is a budget item calling for $10 million in savings “related to providing health benefits.” That would come, according to the budget, from either efficiencies or coordination with the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Original post:

The budget still hasn’t been released publicly, so

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June
27th

House tries again, this time approves transportation funding

Two Democrats from rural districts reversed their votes today on a 10-1/2-cents-a-gallon increase in the gas tax to pay for road projects — giving supporters enough votes to pass it through the state House.

The vote came just a day after the exact same measure failed by one vote. But after Rep. Brian Blake of Aberdeen and Rep. Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim joined supporters, the bill passed by a 51-to-41 margin.

“It was kind of depressing yesterday, I have to admit,” said the plan’s author, Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who insisted she did not promise anything to get the votes. ”It was just

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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

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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