OLYMPIA -- The Legislature opens at noon today with more than the usual amount of interest in a small thing, the approval of rules.
This is expected to be when we find out if the "Coalition Caucus," a grouping of the chamber's 23 Republicans and two disaffected Democrats, hold together to become the majority and control things like rules and committee appointments.
Over in the House, things will almost certainly be less dramatic. Also starting at noon, House members will be sworn in and cast their votes for leadership. Democrat Frank Chopp of Seattle is a shoo-in to be re-elected speaker and he's scheduled to address the chamber about 12:30 p.m.
Don't expect a long speech. the House Finance Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. to get an update on the revenue forecast and tax ideas in Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposal. The House Appropriations Committee has a 3:30 p.m. meeting to hear about the spending portion of Gregoire's budget.