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WA Lege Day 36: 125th Anniversary, sort of …

OLYMPIA -- The Senate marked the quasquicentennial of the official beginning of the state of Washington today, with a resolution honoring the act of Congress that led to establishing the state in 1889.

Technically, they're five days early as the actual calendar goes. But they're on the mark as far as the official calendar goes. Here's why:

Congress passed the enabling act for the state of Washington on Feb. 22, 1889, a way of marking George Washington's birthday, which was a federal holiday back then. The Washington's Birthday holiday has been morphed into the President's Day holiday, which isn't tied to a particular day but to a Monday that forms a three-day weekend in mid February, apparently so car dealers and furniture stores can offer big sales.

So in a sense this is the appropriate day to take up the resolution, particularly since the calendar said Feb. 11 when George was born, if there was one in the colonial home at the time because they were using a different system then.

The enabling act set in motion the process for a state constitutional convention, approved by voters in October, and a proclamation of statehood on Nov. 11 of that year.Things moved much quicker in those days, Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, noted.

Look for more quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary, mentions as they year continues.

So Washington's Birthday/President's Day isn't the state's 125th birthday. It's more like the 125th anniversary of getting a positive pregnancy test.

The resolution was a bit of early activity in what could be a long day of votes on bills that could continue into the evening as the Legislature plays beat the clock on the deadline for all bills not connected to the budget to be voted out of at least one house by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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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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