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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Olympia

No rest for the Senate…

It's an ambitious day for the Senate, as the more deliberative body goes to work on a long list of bills, not least among them the Senate's capital, transportation and operating budgets and the tens of billions of dollars contained therein. (Also working hard on this rainy morning: the House Appropriations Committee, holding hearings on dozens of bills today and voting on eight more.)

Although it's all but certain (there was that earthquake in 2001) that the budgets will pass today in the Senate, Republicans are making many 11th-hour attempts to amend the bills.

A sampling of quotes:

"This is not about safety, so let's stop hiding behind safety. This is a revenue generation, taxation program."

-- Sen. Don Benton, trying unsuccessfully to strip a provision to allow a pilot project of traffic-enforcement cameras in construction zones. Democrats responded that the program is absolutely about safety, and enforcing the laws will help save workers' lives.

"This really is the lens of the camera under the tent."

-- Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, on the same subject.

"As some of you know, I border on the state of Idaho, which is blooming and blossoming, while my district is going back to the '30s."

-- Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, trying unsuccessfully to shift $250,000 into work on an I-90 interchange at Liberty Lake. Instead, the money will be spent as planned on a study of the Inland Northwest's potential as a regional transportation hub.

"This really pits transportation against schools and children."

-- Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, opposing a Republican attempt to shift $1 billion from the general fund and use it for five highway projects, including $250 million for the North Spokane Corridor. (The measure failed.)

"We risk killing our citizens."

-- Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, on an unsuccessful proposal to strip money for the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle if no decision's made soon on how to replace it. Instead, GOP senators wanted the money sent to other projects around the state.

"The fact of the matter is that a barrier is better than no barrier."

-- Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, opposing a GOP amendment to halt construction of new "cable barriers" until more study is done to ensure that they're safe and effective.

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