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WA Lege Day 93: A place by any other name…

OLYMPIA -- The Senate voted to reinstated a state board that decides what to call places in Washington -- the same board it eliminated last year in a cost-saving measure.

Republicans argued that in tough budget times, the state Board of Geographic Names is something the state could continue to do without.

"It certainly isn't a priority to fund a naming board," Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville said.

Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, said he thought it was unnecessary: "When I look at a map, I don't know of a single feature that isn't named."

But the board costs onlyl $36,000 a year to maintain, and eliminating the Board of Geographic Names made Washington as the only state in the nation that doesn't have its own committee to decide such nomenclature, Democrats said. "It means the federal government decides names," Sen Kevin Ranker, D- San Juan, said.

Republicans managed to add an amendment that says if there's no money in the budget specifically for the board, the board doesn't get reconstituted. But the bill passed 32-16, and headed back to the House, which previously approved it 58-40.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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