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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Olympia

House passes first bills…

Local Reps. Matt Shea and John Driscoll made their opening floor speeches Monday, making the case -- although it didn't have to be made, judging by the unanimous voice vote -- for passage of a resolution honoring the state's National Guard troops.

Shea, a former company commander in the 81st Brigade, recounted the death of one of his soldiers, killed by a 500-pound bomb detonated a few feet from the Sgt. Jeff Shaver's humvee. He talked about getting a letter shortly after that from the 26-year-old's fiancee, a woman named Charity. She said she took comfort knowing that he'd found true love before he was killed.

"Charity sacrificed her future husband on the altar of freedom," said Shea, R-Mead. " And I think we need to each ask ourselves: what price will we pay?"

Driscoll, D-Spokane, also said he was proud to honor the troops for putting their lives and families on hold out of their sense of duty.

"Our state, our nation and our world is a better place because of what you do," he said.

House lawmakers on Monday passed their first bills of this year's legislative session. Among them:

-HB 1049, which lets National Guard veterans tap local relief programs,

-HB 105, which changes the state hiring preference for veterans,

-and HB 1034, which allows more public use of National Guard armories.

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