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Eye On Olympia archive for Jan. 1, 2003

TUESDAY, APRIL 8, 2003

The Legislative body...

Several lawmakers are out sick these days, a phenomenon that's not too surprising considering the close quarters and all that hand-shaking. It's like an adult version of daycare.Among the sick: Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, was home with the flu Tuesday. Rep. Alex Wood, D-Spokane, is…

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2003

Close but no cigar...

Despite negotiations that lasted until 3 a.m. Wednesday, Gov. Gary Locke and key Democratic and Republican lawmakers couldn't quite agree on a new transportation tax plan. They're close, though, various red-eyed or hoarse lawmakers reported Wednesday morning.All three plans are anchored by a 3-cent to…

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TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2003

Senate releases budget proposal...

Apparently tired of waiting for House Democrats to agree on their budget proposal, the state Senate this afternoon plans to release its version. The Republican-written Senate plan is heavy on budget cuts.We're working on a story about this for Wednesday morning's paper...

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Bring your jammies...

Not an April Fool's joke: Gov. Gary Locke, trying to pressure lawmakers to agree on new transportation taxes, is calling key lawmakers to his office Tuesday to negotiate late into the night."I'm prepared to stay up all night to make this happen," Locke said.If lawmakers…

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2003

And then the governor weighed in...

Gov. Gary Locke on Tuesday launched his own transportation tax proposal, which is very similar to what House Democrats are proposing. Locke's suggesting:-a 4-cent gas tax hike,-a fee of 1/2 of 1 percent of a vehicle's value when the title is tranferred,-15 percent higher trucking…

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MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2003

Numbers...

After a weekend back home, lawmakers returned to action today, hearing a proposal in the House that would allow charter schools, and considering whether to allow colleges a free hand in raising tuitions on all students except resident undergrads.The pace has slowed considerably from last…

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2003

And so it began...

Majority Leader Jim West was sitting in his office with a few reporters Wednesday night when an aide came in and handed him a yellow note.West, a Republican from Spokane, paused in mid-sentence, unfolded the paper and read the note."Oh, they started bombing in Baghdad,"…

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TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2003

If it's good enough for the feds...

The state Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed a bill to ban state agencies from adopting rules that exceed federal regulations, unless state lawmakers approve.Some lawmakers didn't think that the federal government should be the standard to which Washingtonians aspire."This deeply concerns me," said Sen. Lisa…

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Get the hook...

Debate in the state House of Representatives stretched late into the night Monday, with the final gavel falling just before 11 p.m.Among the lowlights: debate on ESHB 1754 , which exempts small poultry farmers from some of the more-stringent slaughter regulations.Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, couldn't…

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FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2003

Charter schools

For the first time in state history, the state Senate passed a bill Thursday to allow publicly funded charter schools.Charter schools run under a contract that frees them from most state education rules. Advocates have been trying to get bills to allow this through the…

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2003

Workers compensation bill passes Senate...

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would cut some benefits for workers killed or injured on the job, despite bitter opposition from some Democrats.Prime sponsor Sen. Jim Honeyford said the changes will simplify workers' compensation calculations and give some relief to businesses…

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To the floor...

Changing gears, the House and Senate these days are spending hours in floor debate, passing dozens of bills in a race to beat the March 19 deadline for bills to get out of the house in which they started. Lawmakers are also spending a lot…

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FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2003

O, Canada...

Our favorite "The neighbors are doing WHAT?" bill so far this session: HJM 4019, "Requesting that British Columbia refrain from releasing grizzly bears near our common border."Sen. Bob Morton, a one-time shepherd, frequent preacher and perennial font of interesting rural information, has calculated that a…

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Good God...

For a day that began with the House of Representatives members trying hard to put a Muslim-slighting incident behind them, Friday was a day chock-full of God in the statehouse. Debating a controversial bill to require members of the clergy to report child abuse, members…

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 2003

Boycotting the Imam...

The House Republican spin-machine was whirling away this morning, as a couple of lawmakers tried to justify their absences at Monday’s daily opening prayer, which happened to be given by a Muslim cleric.Former teacher and Rep. Lois McMahan, R-Olalla, said she chose to remain outside…

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TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2003

Did someone say Keno?

Latest gambling proposal to be floated in Olympia: Senate Bill 6009 , which would allow on-line lottery drawings "more than once every 24 hours."Oregon and several other states have a state-run gambling franchise like that: Keno. Video terminals are common in bars, where patrons can…

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Deadline looms...

House and Senate committees are racing to vote on bills before the Wednesday, March 5 deadline. Except for bills involving money -- which have extra time -- bills must clear this first hurdle by the close of business Wednesday or die.

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THURSDAY, FEB. 27, 2003

It's the water...

In spring, where April showers bring mold, shoe-sucking mud, and batallions of slugs, we often wonder how the state's founders settled on this mossy burg for their capital.Here's the answer, according to the archivists of the Secretary of State's office:From the 1850s throught the 1920s,…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26, 2003

The Mustard Bug is Back...

The Spokane Conservation District's well-traveled Volkswagen beetle, fueled by mustard-seed "biodiesel," has been spotted around the Capitol recently.District spokesman Jim Armstrong's trying to prod lawmakers into passing tax incentives for the vegetable-oil-derived fuels, which can be burned in regular diesel engines. Two bills would also…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19, 2003

Oh, Harold, we miss ya...

Former Sen. Harold Hochstatter, a Moses Lake Republican famous for perplexing quotes and obscure references, has compiled a list of dozens of his best statements, and we're once again reminded how much we miss his ability to spice up a Legislative debate.We'll let him take…

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Gay marriage bill...

Some House lawmakers are proposing a bill to allow same-sex civil unions. Washington's Legislature has the second-highest number of openly gay lawmakers in the nation (four), second only to California's five.The bill, proposed three days after Valentine's Day, is House Bill 1939

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Ergo sum...

The Republican-led Senate, which has made pro-business bills a priority this year, on Tuesday voted to make compliance with the state's controversial workplace-ergonomics rules VOLUNTARY, essentially leaving the rules toothless. Businesses have been battling the rules, saying that adjustable cash registers, tables, special lifts and…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 13, 2003

Gambling issue is heating up...

The battle's getting hotter in Olympia over whether to allow taverns, mini-casinos, bowling alleys and fraternal clubs to have the same slot-style machines that Indian casinos now have. Proponents say tribes have an unfair monopoly on the machines.On Thursday night, the coalition seeking the machines…

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Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.



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