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Tag: Morning update

April
9th

Morning update: Day 29

It’s the second-to-last day of the 30-day special session. (Please forgive last week’s lapse of morning updates; a furlough kept me away from the Legislature). Now we’ll see if a day off for Easter allowed weekend tensions in the Senate to cool, and whether there’s any chance of a deal by Tuesday.

With the $31 billion state budget all but finalized, three so-called reforms remain sticking points in negotiations. Republicans and centrist Democrats won’t vote on the budget or a capital-construction budget until the three demands are met. House Democrats have offered competing versions of all three:

  • GOP

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March
30th

Morning update: Day 19

Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign all of the remaining bills on her desk today — though she said Thursday she could still pull back if negotiators didn’t make enough progress on the budget by today.

The bills to be signed into law include a set of changes that parks officials hope will encourage more people to buy the parking pass for state lands. The centerpiece of the Discover Pass overhaul is a new ability to use the $30-a-year pass in two cars, not just one. State agencies would also get access to the money from tickets for people

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March
29th

Morning update: Day 18

Gov. Chris Gregoire is acting on more than 100 bills today, likely releasing most of the hostages she has been holding as encouragement for lawmakers to reach a budget deal.

It’s a sign of progress in budget talks that went longer than usual Wednesday, about four hours, and resume today.

Gregoire’s office said there is no deal but that she and budget writers felt good about their progress.

While there could still be vetoes, expect signatures on most bills. The lineup includes a resumption of an abolished tax break for TV and film shoots in Washington.

March
28th

Morning update: Day 17

If you’ve missed our morning update the last couple of days, you haven’t missed much: Things stand pretty much where they did when we last left off, with lawmakers still trying to iron out their differences at daily meetings in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office.

All sides remain at the negotiating table working on a host of issues, but with two weeks left to avert a second special session, no one is publicly reporting progress. Meetings continue this morning.

If any sticking point is the biggest, it might be Republican Sen. Joe Zarelli’s proposal to cut pension benefits for future workers for

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March
23rd

Morning update: Special session day 12

Gov. Chris Gregoire is signing the transportation budget and a series of other bills today, including the measure that takes another step toward implementing the federal Affordable Care Act — even as the U.S. Supreme Court gets ready to decide whether to uphold it, strike it down, or something in between.

The volume of bills Gregoire considering for signing could be a sign that budget talks are progressing. She is still holding out a veto threat on the remaining bills if lawmakers don’t get their act together.

One of the bills offers a tax break to a Federal

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March
22nd

Morning update, special session day 11: What gimmick?

There’s unlikely to be any public action at the Legislature for the rest of the week, but behind the scenes negotiators appear to be moving closer to a deal, and some lawmakers are now hopefully predicting they might be able to finish their work next week.

My story today spells out one possible path, an accounting change, maneuver, gimmick or trick — take your pick of labels —  that could raise roughly the amount that is in dispute. See below for an official outline of the plan.

The treasurer’s office, considered an arbiter of budget chicanery, says it’s not

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March
20th

Morning update: Special session day 9

State lawmakers welcome spring today while still working on the same task they started in the fall: trying to decide how to balance the budget.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said Monday that budget writers were to meet again today at least once and look at an idea she gave them for finding some money — a new iteration of an idea she has been pitching for a while, although she won’t reveal publicly what that is.

Across the street from the Capitol, the state Transportation Commission will consider how much drivers should pay to cross the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

A citizen

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March
19th

Morning update: special session Day 8

Already slow-moving budget negotiations were postponed Friday until at least today, as Senate Republican budget writer Joe Zarelli was ill. They could start up again today.

Elsewhere, the voter-approved liquor privatization initiative goes before a Cowlitz County judge again.

Today’s arguments in front of Judge Stephen Warning follow up on his ruling that Initiative 1183 wrongly included an unrelated subject by providing an extra $10 million to local governments for public safety programs. Lawyers will argue whether that part can be removed without bringing down the whole law.

Here’s a rundown on that case and a separate King County case,

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