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Eye On Olympia

Strangest budget item of them all…

Anyone who’s watched the House of Representatives voting on a bill has heard the off-to-the-horse-races clamor of the automated bell that sounds whenever House lawmakers vote. Perhaps intended to wake the sleeping, the bill prods lawmakers to press the green or red buttons with which they cast their votes. The results are tallied on a large electronic board on the wall behind the Speaker of the House.

It is, admittedly, not a quiet bell.

Still, we have to wonder which annoyed Senate staffer penned Section 111, titled “Legislative Building Omnibus,” deep in the Senate capital budget bill released Wednesday afternoon.

It includes this unusual provision:

“Funding is also included for a study of how to acoustically insulate the chambers of the house of representatives in order to prevent the loud, boxing-ring-style bell of the voting machine from disturbing the decorum of the senate.”

The cost of the study isn’t mentioned.

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

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