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Spin Control

MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010, 10:35 A.M.

WA Lege SpecSess: Here we go again

OLYMPIA -- The Legislature cranks back up at noon today in an effort to pass a supplemental budget. Most of the honorables were given the weekend off, which meant many of them blew town, but some budget negotiators and leaders hung around.

Gov. Chris Gregoire called them into session for seven days, but they're not bound by that. Technically, a special session can last as many as 30 days, and since the Legislature is a separate, co-equal branch of government, it can hang around for a whole month if it wants.

Estimated cost per day is about $18,300 if all legislators take their $90 per diem. Republicans suggested a bill late last week that would have stripped the per diem for everyone; Democrats countered that the bill was introduced so late that it couldn't be considered, but everyone was free to reject the per diem voluntarily, if they want.

Democratic Sens. Chris Marr and Derek Kilmer have said they won't be taking the per diem. Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla said that many GOP members were also foregoing theirs.

No special events or groups are scheduled for the Capitol today...apparently no one thought there'd be any legislators around to cajole.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.