OLYMPIA — The Senate will hold a hearing in its Ways and Means Committee this afternoon for the general operating budget released Tuesday evening.
The budget is 462 pages long, but folks who stayed up all night to peruse it should be well versed in it by the time the panel starts at 2:30 p.m. There is a bit of a hurry, after all, because there are only 11 days left in the 105-day session…one of which is Easter Sunday. (Another is April 22, Good Friday and April 19, the start of Passover , but what are we, a calendar company?)
House Ways and Means Committee also has a hearing, starting at 3:30 p.m., on several bills needed to implement its budget, which passed Saturday. Among them is the consolidation of many arts and heritage programs into a single state agency which would have control of — and money for — the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. The Senate budget doesn't call for that consolidation, but one never knows which spending plan will hold sway on the varioius points of difference.
In the meantime, both chambers have work to do on “concurrences” — bills that both houses have passed in some form or another, but now have to be reconciled into a form acceptable to both.
And if anyone asks “Where's the beef?” today, there could be multiple answers. Budget writers are likely to point to their spending plans. But the more literal answer would be on the west campus, where the Washington Cattleman's Association is serving up lunch in its annual barbecue.
And no, those aren't the Blues Brothers in the picture above. Democratic Sens. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver and Steven Hobbs of Lake Stevens donned shades during floor debate Tuesday on changing laws for embalmers.