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Thu., Feb. 24, 2011, 12:27 p.m.

WA Lege Day 46: Baumgartner hazed as ‘too sexy’

OLYMPIA -- The Senate passed Spokane Republican Mike Baumgartner's first bill easily Thursday, but not before the traditional hazing of a freshman member.

As sponsor of SB 5500, Baumgartner got to move for its passage late Thursday morning, and decided to address head-on a source of notoriety in the early weeks of his freshman year: being named one of the Inland Northwest's Sexiest People by the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

He set himself up for the razzing that was coming by describing the bill -- which requires agencies consider the economic impact of their rules on small businesses, seek business input on those rules and actually listen to that input -- as a handsome and debonaire proposal to cure an unsightly problems. "Bold is beautiful," he concluded.

Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, didn't take issue with the bill. Instead, she took the floor to play a few seconds of "I'm Too Sexy" from her cell phone into the microphone. Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, said took issue with her selection, saying it should have been the version by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

"I'm glad you're bringing sexy back to the Senate," Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, said. "I hope you can give me some of your tips."

Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, serving as the body's President Pro Tem, later expressed some false surprise: "The president was not aware that there was a shortage of sexy men."

As is traditional, Baumgartner had gifts delivered to all senators' offices to mark his first speech. He actually sent two, a bottle of Latah Creek's "Spokane Blush" wine, with a quote from G.K. Chesterton about working together, and a lump of coal. His wife is pregnant with their first child and due in June, he said.

"If we don't get out of here in time to see my baby born, I'm taking the wine back and you can keep the coal."

The session is due to end April 24, but a special session will be called if legislators can't settle on a way to cut an estimated $4.6 billion from the 2011-13 budget. Some legislative staff have been told to be prepared to work through June.

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