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Tue., March 11, 2014, 3:05 p.m.

Senate turns back effort on vets tuition, homeless housing

OLYMPIA -- Senate Democrats failed in a parliamentary maneuver  to force votes on granting in-state tuition for military veterans and funding for homeless projects. 

Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, tried to force those two bills -- which have strong support from both parties but are stuck in committees -- onto the Senate floor with a motion to go the "Ninth Order" essentially a point at which anything can be put to a vote.

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, argued against the move, saying leaders of all four caucuses have agreed those two issues will be part of budget negotiations, which are continuing. The motion failed 23-26, with all members of the minority Democrats voting yes and all members of the coalition caucus voting no.

Billig called the vote frustrating, despite Schoesler's comments that the bills would come up later:"We have three days left and it's time to take care of these important bills."

The majority coalition calls the vote just a procedural vote, Billig said, "but it's a procedure not to help vets."

The session is scheduled to end Thursday.

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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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