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Spin Control

Posts tagged: State History Museum

House Panel: Use Heritage money for MAC

OLYMPIA — A House panel voted narrowly this morning to combine several arts and heritage programs into one “mega-agency” and provide money for the Museum of Arts and Culture from a fund set up for a planned Heritage Center in Olympia.

On a 6-5 vote, the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee approved HB 2033, a bill that creates a Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture from an array of existing programs. It would place two state historical societies in the new department, as well as the MAC and the State History Museum in Tacoma, as well as the Heritage Center and a fund created from a special fee on documents filed with county auditors.

Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposes cutting funding for those two museums so significantly that the two facilities will be closed to the public and only have enough staff to maintain their collections. The House Democrats' budget proposal keeps the museums open by tapping the Heritage Center fund.

Rep. Jeannie Darnielle, D-Tacoma, said the bill represented one of the tough choices facing the Legislature: “We have to choose between our existing agencies and museums or look to something new.” It would change the Heritage Center fund to a heritage fund that maintains existing museums and arts programs across the state.

Republicans on the panel objected. “We're creating a new agency when reforms should be going the  other direction,” Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia said. When the House GOP introduces its alternative budget later today, it will propose a way to keep the Spokane and Tacoma museums open without tapping the Heritage Center money, he added.

One Democrat objected, too. Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal, said the bill merely rearranges the agencies rather than focusing on processes and people. “Setting up a new department just doesn't send the right message to the public,” he said.

Employees of the new department would remain members of their current collective bargaining units and keep their contracts. Republicans lost on an amendment that would have cancelled the current agreements and required what Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, called “a clean look at those contracts.”

For more on the committee action on bills involving the 2012 presidential primary, the Public Disclosure Commission and the state printer services, go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 74: Plan to keep MAC open surfaces

OLYMPIA — A proposal that would keep the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane and the State History Museum in Tacoma open, by taking money from a fund to build a Heritage Center in Olympia, was introduced today in the House.

Supported by Spokane Reps. Andy Billig, Kevin Parker and Timm Ormsby, as well as members from the Tacoma area and even Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, the plan also creates a state Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture, which would oversee the three facilities.

“Rather than saving for a new museum, we're going to save two excellent museums we already have,” Billig said Thursday. “Ideally we would do it all, but we're not in ideal conditions.”

Secretary of State Sam Reed is not a fan. “It's like killing one institution to save two others.” Finding money for the two museums is “vitally important” but taking money for the Heritage Center — which would primarily be a home for the state archives and state library, and with display space but not a full-blown museum — is the wrong way to do it, he said….

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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