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Eye On Olympia

Archive for June 2003

A summertime drink special…

Several transportation taxes are increasing Tuesday, but a price increase in liquor won’t take effect until September.
(It’s not a tax, it’s a price increase, straightfaced lawmakers maintain. Also: It’s not liquor, it’s “spirits.”)
The price will go up 42 cents a liter.

Governor signs budget into law…

Gov. Gary Locke on Thursday signed the state’s controversial two-year, $23 billion budget into law. He used his veto pen to restore about $20 million in spending that lawmakers had wanted to cut.
Among the saves:
-About $20 million in administrative cuts to state agencies, including things like equipment and travel,
-and a $3 million cut that would have axed state agency “legislative liaisons,” who act as information go-betweens between the statehouse and their agencies. Many lawmakers refer to these positions as “agency lobbyists.”
The budget takes effect July 1.

West’s sidelined for treatment…

Conspicuously absent in the Legislature’s waning days is Senate Majority Leader Jim West. The Spokane Republican is home, undergoing chemotherapy treatments in Coeur d’Alene for the colon cancer that doctors discovered about a month ago. He’s not expected back before the Legislature wraps things up early next week.
“His heart is here, but he has to do what’s most important for his health,” said one of West’s lieutenants, Sen. Pat Hale, R-Kennewick.
Still, knowing West’s workaholic tendencies, his colleagues figured that he was probably watching Wednesday night’s budget debate on TVW, Washington’s public-affairs TV network.
“God bless you,” Sen. Bob Oke, R-Port Orchard said in a brief floor speech intended for West’s eyes back in Spokane. “We’re praying for you every day.”

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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