OLYMPIA -- This is cutoff day in the Washington Legislature, a day in which some bills die a quiet death and others live or die after contentious debates.
Any bill that isn't tied to the budget must get out of its original chamber by 5 p.m. today. OK, there's a couple of caveats -- if a bill is under debate before 5 p.m., it can still be voted on later in the day; and there are ways to amend bills later to resurrect portions of dead bills.
But in general, a bill that doesn't get its ticket punched today is more likely to be relegated to the scrapheap of history than to find itself on a big conference table in the governor's conference room with a big tray of pens nearby and a photographer telling the gov and its sponsors to smile while a signature is affixed.
So both chamber started early and can be expected to run bills throughout the day, with some breaks for caucuses so the leaders of the two parties in each chamber can judge support for the individual pieces of legislation.
Meanwhile, the Washington Students Association has planned a rally for noon on the north steps of the Capitol Building.