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Spin Control

WA Lege Day 52: Halfway done, mathematically

OLYMPIA -- The Legislature continues moving bills through both chambers, with a group of education-related bills set for debate today in the House.

Gov. Chris Gregoire also has a press conference this afternoon on education reform.

It is day 52 of the 105 day session, which means the  halfway point will be passed at some point in the afternoon. Seems like the second half will be more action packed than the first, considering it has to come up with a full two-year budget, rather than just a six-month adjustment.

First thing this morning in the Senate, Spokane's newest legislator, Sen. Jeff Baxter, made his first floor speech, which as per custom created a bit of razzing from more senior members.

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said Baxter's conservative stances and opposition to taxes, as well as his recent nickname of "Old Spice" among the freshman senators dubbed the Spice Boys, means "it is as if Bob McCaslin never left."

Not so, argued Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. "I don't believe our new senator is going to fill the shoes of Bob McCaslin. You haven't asked me to marry you yet", a reference to McCaslin's reputation as a inveterate flirt.

Brown said their districts adjoin each other and she often bikes through the 4th on the Centennial Trail. She's talked to her appointee to the state Redistricting Commission about it, also. "I like your district so much ... we've decided to redistrict you into Idaho."

Baxter, a bit  nervous with his first speech, began reading from prepared remarks, only to be told by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who serves as president of the Senate, that he wasn't allowed to read from the floor without permission.

"May I  have permission?" Baxter asked.

"If there are no objections," Owen replied, which prompted some Noes from the background. "Pretend like you are not," Owen advised.

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