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Eye On Olympia

The Speaker speaks…

Excerpts from House Speaker Frank Chopp’s weekly meeting with capitol reporters Wednesday:

-The House likes a proposal to let school districts pass levies (typically for a few years at a time and typically used for maintenance and operations) with a simple majority of voters but wants to keep the current requirement that bonds (typically long-term debt for big projects) need 60 percent “supermajority” approval.
-The innovation zones bill will be passing soon on the House floor.
-House Democrats are pushing a farm package that would extend a sales tax break on agricultural equipment and some diesel fuel.
-Re: proposals for tax dollars to help build a NASCAR racetrack and a new Sonics stadium: “The silence is sort of deafening, really…Normally, when you you want to pass something, you have to have people (i.e. lawmakers) supporting it.”
-More on the Sonics: “We haven’t got a proposal from them yet. They haven’t picked the city. They haven’t revealed the source of this funding they want to go after. So what are we responding to?…Imagine what $300 million could do for school construction in this state.”
-House Democrats will be meeting with Washington National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg tomorrow. A key topic: the war in Iraq: “How does that mistake affect our ability to help our citizens in time of emergency?”
-On the Alaskan Way Viaduct tussle: “The tunnel proposal was not feasible, therefore we can’t do it.” Of the 98 lawmakers in the House, he estimated, about 8 are in favor of a tunnel.

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

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