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Spec Sess Day 19: Budget writers in the open

OLYMPIA -- A rare public work day for the Senate's budget writers, who reportedly have been meeting privately -- albeit unsuccessfully to this point -- on a compromise for the state's 2013-15 operating budget.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee has a hearing this morning on an array of topics, including tougher laws for repeat offenders of driving under the influence, lower tuition at the state colleges and universities and a change in the state's estate tax law.

Most members of the Senate and House are elsewhere. The morning's Senate pro forma session lasted a few minutes longer than normal when Sen. David Frockt, D- Seattle, used a point of personal privilege for a call to redouble efforts so the Legislature can finish by June 11 and not need a second special session.

Along with the 30-day limit on the special session, the Legislature is also looking at an even bigger day on the calendar: July 1. That's when the state's new fiscal year starts, and it's unclear how the state would proceed with all services and salaries if it doesn't have a budget in place to provide the authority to continue them. 

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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