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Wed., March 12, 2014, 8:03 p.m.

House passes end of Innovate WA bill

OLYMPIA -- The latest version of a bill to end the Innovate Washington program passed the House 97-0 Wednesday evening.

In the latest iteration, the Spokane-based agency becomes a program in the state Commerce Department that ends on June 30, 2015. In the meantime, it will have money to secure federal grants for projects that involve the use of new technology for energy efficiency and finding ways to bring jobs back the the United States that have been moved overseas.

Most of the money for Innovate Washington was removed in last year's state budget, making it what Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, called a "zombie agency." When it ceases to exist,any money not spent to keep the federal grants will be transferred to Commerce.

Assets like its building on the Riverpoint Campus will be transferred to Washington State University, which will move some of its classes out of the campus's Phase 1 Building and turn that facility over to Eastern Washington University. Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, said the bill will continue development of the campus, which is the site of a new medical school facility.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which passed a different version of the legislation.




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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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