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Spin Control

WA Lege Day 72: Road money, prison sentences and bottled water

OLYMPIA -- The second of two plans to spend nearly $9 billion in transportation funds is set for release this afternoon. The Senate Transportation Committee will release its budget proposal today and hold a hearing on it tomorrow -- somewhat better, legislative watchdogs say, than its House counterpart which announce its budget at noon and held a hearing at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Hearing topics today include plans to change the state's worker's compensation program in the House Labor Committee, motorcycle profiling in the House Public Safety Committee, and the process for review tax breaks in House Ways and Means.

In the Senate,  the Human Services Committee has a bill that would reduce prison sentences to save money. The Government Operations Committee has a hearing on the presidential primary and the election of precinct committee officers, and the Judiciary Committee has a hearing on a bill that would provide immunity from alcohol possession charges for a minor who called to report a possible alcohol poisoning of another person. The latter led to some spirited debate before passing the House, with opponents saying it was sending the wrong message by condoning teen-age drinking.

Elsewhere around the Capitol, folks who want to cut down on the use of bottled water have a press conference to make the area a bottle-water-free zone, encouraging folks to drink tap water instead. It's also Online Learning Day and Equality Day; the latter, sponsored by Equal Rights Washington and the Religious Coaliltion for Equality, may bring some 600 to the Capitol steps.

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