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

FRIDAY, DEC. 19, 2003

When real words just won't do...

New Olympia words, none of which exist, according to our copy of the American Heritage Dictionary:-"Defund," which recently appeared in a press release from Citizens for Parks and Recreation. The group gets extra points, however, for managing to use the word as both a verb…

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MONDAY, DEC. 15, 2003

MONDAY, DEC. 8, 2003

Show me the money...

State Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Samammish, announced Friday that he's quitting his Senate seat in order to focus on his run for governor. But it's not just a matter of having more time to prep for debates.By quitting, Rossi avoids a state campaign-finance law that bans…

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FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2003


What presidential primary?

State lawmakers have killed next March's presidential primary, but what was expected to be a quick, mild-mannered vote turned into an 11th-hour fight in the state Senate.Most lawmakers -- Democrats and Republicans both -- voted to cancel the primary, since the national Democratic Party doesn't…

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THURSDAY, DEC. 4, 2003

Border skirmishes...

Spokane's not alone in its worries about cross-border competition for business. Oregon retailers are advertising in Olympia, urging Washingtonians to make the two-hour drive to Portland, where there is no sales tax. "Shop Portland: tax-free, every day," read the ads.Washington's firing back, touting its multi-state,…

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TUESDAY, DEC. 2, 2003

Four running for AG

Two more candidates for attorney general threw their hats in the ring this week. King County Councilman Rob McKenna and Issaquah "Super Lawyer" Mike Vaska, both Republicans, announced their candidacies this week. They face two well-known Democrats: former state insurance commissioner Deborah Senn and former…

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THURSDAY, OCT. 9, 2003

No more pencils, no more books...

On Wednesday, the 38th day of what has now become the longest teacher's strike in state history, Gov. Gary Locke jumped into the fray."It is unacceptable that this strike has continued for so long," the governor said, after meeting privately with both the Marysville school…

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WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2003

MONDAY, SEPT. 22, 2003

On medieval justice...

"Until the 13th century, priests were beheaded for this."-former Spokane County prosecutor Don Brockett, urging lawmakers to remove the statute of limitations for child abuse cases.

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 16, 2003

GOP musical chairs continues...

Republicans in the state House of Representatives have elected Rep. Richard DeBolt, a Republican from the rural Western Washington town of Chehalis, as the top GOP lawmaker in the House.DeBolt will take the reins from Rep. Cathy McMorris, R-Colville, who's giving up the leadership position…

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MONDAY, AUG. 18, 2003

Who's bankrolling who...

The state's campaign-finance watchdog, the Public Disclosure Commission, has just issued its annual "Fact Book" for the last election cycle: 2002.The book is mainly a profile of state legislative races, including who gave how much cash to whom. It also includes information on political committee…

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2003

And then they commenced to fightin'...

U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, a Republican, said Wednesday that he's going to try to unseat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.The state Democratic Party promptly blasted Nethercutt with both barrels, unleashing a four-page press release that described Nethercutt as opposing everything from homeland security to school lunches…

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TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2003

Ron Sims running for governor...

Spokane-raised Ron Sims, who has been King County Executive for the past seven years, announced Tuesday that he's running for governor.Announcing his candidacy on a Seattle pier, Sims touted his Eastern Washington roots, and promised to work hard to improve the economy throughout the entire…

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MONDAY, JULY 21, 2003

Locke won't seek third term...

Saying that being a good husband and father is more important to him than being governor, Gary Locke said Monday morning that he will not run for re-election next year."After much thought and careful deliberation with my family, I have decided not to seek a…

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TUESDAY, JULY 1, 2003

Ergo, an initiative...

Foes of new state rules about workplace repetitive-motion injuries on Tuesday took a big step toward overturning those rules. They delivered roughly 260,000 signatures to the state Secretary of State's office. That's more than enough, if validated by spot checks, to give voters a chance…

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FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2003

A summertime drink special...

Several transportation taxes are increasing Tuesday, but a price increase in liquor won't take effect until September. (It's not a tax, it's a price increase, straightfaced lawmakers maintain. Also: It's not liquor, it's "spirits.")The price will go up 42 cents a liter.

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Governor signs budget into law...

Gov. Gary Locke on Thursday signed the state's controversial two-year, $23 billion budget into law. He used his veto pen to restore about $20 million in spending that lawmakers had wanted to cut. Among the saves: -About $20 million in administrative cuts to state agencies,…

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THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 2003

West's sidelined for treatment...

Conspicuously absent in the Legislature's waning days is Senate Majority Leader Jim West. The Spokane Republican is home, undergoing chemotherapy treatments in Coeur d'Alene for the colon cancer that doctors discovered about a month ago. He's not expected back before the Legislature wraps things up…

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FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2003

Oh, yeah...the Legislature...

You might not know it from the empty parking lots (and empty restaurants) around the capitol, but the state Legislature is technically in session.In reality, only a handful of budget negotiators are actually here. They're doing the same thing they've been doing for weeks: batting…

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More cash for you...maybe...

Remember that apartment deposit you never got back? Or that Christmas Club bank account you never tapped?Thousands of people have unclaimed property -- uncashed paychecks, dormant bank accounts, forgotten safe deposit boxes -- that's been left in the hands of the state Department of Revenue.The…

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TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2003

Home care workers lose...

The union representing 26,000 state-paid home health aides said Tuesday that lawmakers are at an impasse over whether to approve the $97 million contract, and so are rejecting it. Lawmakers want the workers and their union, Service Employees International Union, to return to the bargaining…

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FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2003

Trapping ban hangs in the balance...

Lawmakers have voted to repeal much of the three-year-old ban on body-gripping traps. The bill's now sitting on the desk of Gov. Gary Locke, awaiting his signature -- or his veto. A spokeswoman said the governor's office is still researching the bill.The most effective lobbyists…

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The mustard-seed bug pays off...

On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Locke signed into law a bill granting some tax exemptions for construction and equipment used to make bio-diesel, a much more environmentally-friendly form of diesel fuel that's made from crops like rapeseed. Proponents want to build a manufacturing plant in Spokane…

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