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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Gingrich redux…

House and Senate Republicans on Thursday rolled out their 2006 "pledge to the people of Washington," as Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt called it.

Printed on computer-generated parchment, the 11-point Republican Commitment to Washington calls for:

-a tougher spending cap
-reducing the number of procedures (like acupuncture and massage therapy) that health insurers must now cover
-reducing regulations on small business and repealing Washington's estate tax
-tougher penalties for auto and identity theft, as well as for making methamphetamine
-eliminating the unpopular "Day Use Fee" at state parks
-helping students pass the WASL test, soon to be a requirement for graduation
-reducing energy costs
-try to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage if the Supreme Court overturns it. (Ruling expected soon.)
-protect property rights
-and help family farmers with tax relief, less regulation and ensured access to water.

The reality, of course, is that Democrats dominate the Senate (26 votes to Republicans' 23), the House (55 votes to 43) and the governor's office (Just 1 vote, but it counts for a lot).

No matter, Republicans said. Hewitt said he's counting on building a "philosophical majority" with like-minded Democrats. House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt noted that some of the proposals -- like zapping the state-parks' fee -- are already being proposed by Democrats.

And when Democrats and Republicans aren't singing in chorus? DeBolt said he's counting on public input to help the GOP change some minds.

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