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Eye On Olympia

How the session’s going — or not — for the GOP…

Excerpts from GOP legislative leaders’ meeting Friday with capitol reporters:

“Easter being the season of hope and renewal, we’ll go and take a break and come back with hope and renewal.”
(Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis)

  • On a bill to set up a worker-funded $250 a week stipend for people who take leave to care for family members:
“I think that they want to run it as an initiative and they want it to be a little more ugly than it is. And so I think that that’s the reason I don’t think it will come up on the floor. I think they used the session to just get the message out there.”
(DeBolt, who predicts an initiative that splits the 2-cent-an-hour tax between workers and business instead.)

  • On how much say Republicans, far outnumbered in both the House and Senate, are having in the legislative process this year:
“Other than the capital budget, it was pretty unpleasant.”
(Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, who said he feels Republicans have largely been shut out of the budget process this year. Republican budget amendments — one for as little as $11,000 — were rejected by majority Democrats one after another, he said. “That was as partisan as I’ve seen in 7 years here,” he said.)

  • On the same topic:
“We haven’t really had the opportunity to comment. It’s a big freight train that’s moving forward.”
(DeBolt)

  • Or put another way…
“Things for us have gotten a little tense over there because of the lack of our ability to have our voice and put our fingerprints on it (the budget)…It’s like the guards and the prisoners…The guards make the rules and sometimes the prisoners get frustrated. But it’s still the guards are in charge.”
(DeBolt, quoting an analogy that he said came from a Democratic House member.)

  • On a bill, awaiting passage in the House, to allow same-sex and senior-citizen domestic partnerships:
“We have one amendment…What it says is that the rules should apply to everyone that are roommates, that it doesn’t matter if the relationship is physical or not. But if you’re roommates and you have a caring relationship, you should have the same access to these rights as anybody else.”
(DeBolt. Note: A similar amendment failed in committee.)

  • On the request by the new owners of the Sonics and Storm for legislative help building a new stadium in Renton:
“That bill’s not going. I don’t make bets often, but I don’t think that bill is going.”
(DeBolt)


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

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