Eye On Olympia

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1, 2006, 7:29 P.M.

Pardon?

We tend to have a television tuned to TVW during the session, keeping an ear on the low drone of committee hearings and other legislative white noise. Occasionally, someone commits news.

Still, it was a little startling tonight, in the middle of a long meeting of the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee, to hear a staffer dryly intone the following sentence:

"...the wine may not be offered until the massage is completed."

What?

The bill in question turned out to be Senate Bill 6703, "Allowing Spas to Serve Wine to Their Customers."

The author of this interesting bill was none other than Sen. Mark Schoesler, a Ritzville Republican wheat and legume farmer.

As lawmakers chortled, Schoesler said that the bill was proposed by residents in his district unhappy at state restrictions on serving alcohol.

"It became apparent that some spas were giving out a glass of wine or champagne to their customers illegally," Schoesler said. "Apparently it's very popular with the patrons."

Indeed. The massage provision apparently stems from concern that combining wine with a massage could have untoward results. (But not what you're thinking.)

"The blood pressure goes up," said Sen. Rosa Franklin, D-Tacoma. "You can really have some reaction, headaches and such."

Franklin -- who is a nurse -- thought it would also be a good idea if the spa patrons are offered snacks.

Schoesler said that the Liquor Control Board could probably require that if needed.




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