Spin Control

Budget action likely today

OLYMPIA -- The House Appropriations Committee is likely to vote this afternoon on whether to advance the budget plan Democrats released yesterday, setting up debate on the floor on Friday.

After a marathon hearing Wednesday, a few hours after the $34.5 billion spending plan was unveiled, the committee scheduled an executive session which gives members a chance to praise or criticize the plan then vote on whether to move it to the full chamber.

It's a foregone conclusion Democrats have the votes on the committee to move it out of committee, and Republicans reportedly will not object to a full debate and floor vote on Friday. Not yet scheduled is a hearing on what could be the most contentious part of the budget proposal, an omnibus tax bill that reduces or eliminates the various tax preferences that help get the budget the money it plans to spend.

That will have to be heard by the House Finance Committee, which right now isn't scheduled to meet until next Friday.

Elsewhere around the Capitol, a hearing on a plan to rewrite parts of Initiative 502 to develop "a commercially viable regulatory scheme" for legalized marijuana, had to be scrapped Thursday morning because one of the votes in favor wasn't there to move it out of the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. Senate Ways and Means is working on the 2013-15 Capital Budget.

And there are an unusually large number of cowboy hats in and around the building because the Washington Cattlemen's Association is  having its annual barbecue in the space  between the Capitol and the House office building. So yes, the entire area smells like grilled meat, and no, there's no Washington Vegetarianpersons' Association Day to provide that sort of balance.

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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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