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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

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

Notes from the Davenport…

The Senate's set up in the plush Davenport hotel, awash in ornate plasterwork, Syracuse china, gilt paint and big crystal chandeliers. Most of the 43 senators and slightly fewer staffers are staying at the Davenport, where the state negotiated a rate of $99 a night. (The normal rates for a standard one- or two-bed room at $165 to $195.)

The hotel gives the lawmakers, staff and lobbyists a chance to spread out in a way that's tougher in the capitol -- on Monday, Sen. Bob McCaslin was holding court at one table with business lobbyists while other lawmakers were sprawled out on nearby couches. Up in the mezzanine -- a balcony encircling the vast lobby -- Sen. Brad Benson chatted with lawmakers, while election rival Chris Marr talked with other folks at a table below.

The Spokane Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunch for lawmakers Monday, detailing the successes of big players in the local economy (Itron, Hollister Stier Labs, the convention center, Fairchild Air Force Base, and a massive 2,600-apartment/condo development called Kendall Yards, among others). The chamber followed up by laying the groundwork for likely money requests during the coming budget year: more slots at area colleges, more job training, a new program for first-year medical and dental students at WSU's Riverpoint campus and local rail and road projects.

Spokane School District 81 Superintendent Brian Benzel spoke for many, it seemed, when he wrapped up a presentation with this line: "We need your support."

The message isn't lost on lawmakers.

"We look forward to hearing how well we've spent our money," said Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, welcoming yet another tranportation project report late Monday afternoon.

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