Protesters gather near the World War I memorial on the state Capitol Campus Friday.
OLYMPIA -- The last of four days of protests in and around the Capitol over a proposed "all-cut" budget will feature thousands of labor union members joining other demonstrators on the north steps at noon.
How many thousands isn't clear, but the steps were already filling up at 11 a.m., as buses dropped off more demonstrators on the Capitol campus. The unions brought their own "marshalls" to keep some semblance of order, and a healthy complement of state troopers is visible inside and outside the building.
Sometime this afternoon the House is expected to begin debate of the 2011-13 budget that demonstrators don't like. There are actually two budgets, the House Democrats' version that was reported out of the Ways and Means Committee, and the House Republicans' alternative, which the GOP will likely try to swap out through a striking amendment.
If there aren't other amendments as well, it would be a very rare budget indeed. All this is a way of saying that although the debate is scheduled to start today, it's not possible to predict whether it will finish today, too. The House is scheduled to be in session on Saturday as well.
Meanwhile, the Senate is running through a long list of appointments and bills that are not part of the budget.