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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control: Not everyone wants voter registration tweaks

OLYMPIA – Washington voters have a very good track record of casting ballots – among the best in the country. Is it perfect? No. Could it be better? Yes. Are there people who should vote but don’t? Probably. Is it worth making major changes to the current system to capture some shoulda-woulda-coulda voters?

Billig bill preregisters youth vote

OLYMPIA – One of the most popular ways to register to vote is to sign up when applying for a driver’s license. Unless you’re 16 or 17, the time when most drivers get their first license but are too young to vote. State Rep. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, thinks the state should help those young drivers and all 16- and 17-year-olds become good voters by letting them “pre-register” to vote so they’ll automatically be added to the rolls when they turn 18.

Some legislators opt to cut pay in solidarity

OLYMPIA – About half of the 15 members of the Spokane-area legislative delegation have volunteered for the same 3 percent pay cut they imposed on state workers. Many who have done it, such as Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, say it’s a personal decision.

Lawmakers turn to AG for advice on medical marijuana bill

OLYMPIA – A few days after a Democratic governor vetoed most of a new medical marijuana bill, House Democrats are asking her possible Republican replacement for a little help in crafting a new bill. The 15 legislators, including Spokane’s Andy Billig, signed a letter asking Attorney General Rob McKenna for help drafting a statute that would do some of the things Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed out of the medical marijuana bill that cleared both legislative chambers.

Legislators seeking money for the MAC

OLYMPIA – A proposal to keep museums in Spokane and Tacoma open by tapping a savings account for a new Heritage Center in Olympia was introduced Thursday in the Washington House of Representatives. Supported by Spokane Reps. Andy Billig, Kevin Parker and Timm Ormsby, as well as members from the Tacoma area and even Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, the plan also would create a state Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture to oversee the three facilities.

Town hall meetings Saturday

There’s a break in the Washington legislative action this weekend, so several Spokane-area senators and representatives will be back in their home districts to hold town hall meetings. The break comes from the Legislature passing a major deadline for voting bills out of one chamber, and not yet reaching a key point in crafting the next biennium’s budget, which is the state economic forecast that comes out March 17.

House approves bill to limit use of lawn fertilizers containing phosporus

OLYMPIA – Washington homeowners would be restricted from putting fertilizer with phosphorus on healthy lawns under a bill that passed the House Monday. Despite complaints from Republicans that homeowners should be able to decide what fertilizer to put on their grass or that restrictions will send grass-growers across the border into Idaho for bootleg lawn spreads, Democrats passed a bill sought by Spokane and other cities seeking to cut down on phosphorus in nearby lakes and streams.

Washington has hefty agenda, but financial concerns top list

Washington’s Legislature starts Monday with a single-mindedness even some of its most senior members have never seen. Across party lines, and between the chambers, among freshmen and veterans, few will dispute the 105-day session’s top priority.