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Health authority given more latitude


OLYMPIA – The Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County got more ability to raise and spend money Tuesday under a law signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The authority was established in 2008 to promote businesses based in health sciences, new therapies and treatments for diseases. It receives a small piece of the state sales tax, .02 percent, collected in the county. It has awarded two grants totaling $900,000 and has two more competitive grants under way.

Under the new law, the authority will be able to borrow money under certain conditions and is exempt from the state’s Open Public Meetings Act if the grant applications involve proprietary information. A rule that the authority can’t spend more than 10 percent of its budget on staff and administrative costs was made permanent.

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