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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Washington House adopts rules after debate over ‘fund education first’

OLYMPIA -- Proving that almost nothing is routine in this legislative session, the House adopted its permanent rules Wednesday morning but not before a brief debate over money for education.

Not about  how much money to spend on education, but how to put together the state's general fund budget that includes education.

Republicans lost the fight. They offered an amendment, sponsored by Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea, to the rules resolution that would have required lawmakers to settle the costs of basic education before any final votes on the operating or transportation budgets happen.

It would allow lawmakers to begin discussing different proposals for public schools right away, Shea said: "This is something we can tackle first." 

But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, said that's no way to construct a budget that has other things that help kids learn, such as programs for homeless, sick or hungry students.

"Budgets are not slogans," Ormsby said. "We can't just focus on the time students are inside the building."

The amendment failed on a 48-50 party-line vote. The House then adopted its permanent rules with only minor changes on a voice vote.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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