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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: lawmakers

Senate, House pass first round of cuts…belt-tightening metaphor now extended to trousers…

The state Senate and House this morning each approved spending cuts this morning, in the first of what will be several whacks at state spending.

“For those that say you want to cut more, just sit in your seats,” said House budget writer Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham. “You’ll have a chance.”

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, clearly responding to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s criticism of lawmakers’ budget-cutting pace earlier in the week, said that no Washington legislature has ever approved budget reductions this early in a legislative session.

Brown also said lawmakers were proud to preserve a state plan to allow families living on up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($63,600 for a family of 4) to buy into the state’s health insurance plan for kids.

“The sacred cow here is kids’ health,” she said in a press release. “We are keeping a commitment.”

In the House, Rep. Gary Alexander said that the bill there is a first step in state belt-tightening. But he warned that “we’re going to have to go many, many, many notches further.”

Pushing the metaphor further, Alexander suggested that lawmakers might, in fact, have to “take our pants off and go back and purchase a pair that are about three sizes smaller.”

But what the hell do lawmakers do, anyway?

Lots of meetings, apparently. Sixteen times a day.

Here’s the daily to-do list for Jan. 21st, posted by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown on her blog:

9:00 a.m. Meet with Sen. Jim Kastama and Rep. Hans Dunshee to discuss their scholarship bill

9:30 a.m. Meet with Sen. Mike Hewitt to discuss bond bills and homeless bill

10:00 a.m. Meet with Public School Employees from the 3rd District

10:15 a.m. Meet with Tony Lee, Pam Crone and Kim Justice to discuss the removal of asset limits in public benefit programs

10:45 a.m. Meet with the Washington Student Lobby

11:00 a.m. Meet with Marilyn Watkins of the Family Leave Coalition

11:15 a.m. Meet with the Planned Parenthood Teen Lobby

11:45 a.m. MLK Day Summit and March on Capitol

12:00 p.m. SEIU lobby day lunch

1:00 p.m. Meet with Cathy Mann of Voices and members from Spokane to discuss affordable housing, children and family services issues

1:45 p.m. Meet with Joe Dear and Liz Medizabal of the state Investment Board about legislation to recruit and retain state investment officers

2:00 p.m. Meet with Local 1199 members from the 3rd District

2:15 p.m. Meet with Local 925 members from the 3rd District

2:30 p.m. Meet with staff to discuss next week’s schedule

3:00 p.m. Washington Education Association weekly meeting

3:30 p.m. Meet with Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest

4:30 p.m. Meet with Gov. Gregoire

5:00 p.m. Storm Event Work Group meeting to review budget and policy proposals relations to storm damage response, recovery and restoration

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

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