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MONDAY, JAN. 10, 2011, 10:09 A.M.

WA Lege Day 1: Pomp. Circumstances. Fireworks?

OLYMPIA -- Washington's 105-day legislative session formally gets underway at noon, with the official and officious opening ceremonies in each chamber.

It's the time for swearing in. Simple swearing to come later.

One potential glitch in the Senate involves the swearing in of Nick Harper of Snohomish County's 38th District. There's a dispute over the primary election, in which incumbent Sen. Jean Berkey was edged out in the three-way race thanks to some surreptitious support of Republican Rod Rieger, funnelled into the campaign by Moxie Media.

Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, has a resolution not to seat Harper. Nothing personal against Harper, Kastama says; just trying to stick up for good, honest elections.

Harper, who had nothing to do with Moxie's maneuvering, calls the resolution "insulting and damaging" to the voters of the 38th, because it leaves them without a representative.

Usually, the seating of recently elected senators and representatives is pro forma, although there are a few historic case in which the Legislature has refused to seat, or at least delayed seating, someone elected in the previous election.

Not to read too much into the tea leaves, but the official Senate roster on the legislative web site, lists Harper, but the Senate Democratic Caucus website still lists Berkey...but then it also lists Spokane's Chris Marr and some of the others who lost in last year's election. It's likely the caucus web gurus have been busy with other stuff.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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