December 4, 2008

Assembly update

By Randy Hodgins

President Emmert was in Olympia Wednesday meeting with a number of key lawmakers as members gathered for the Legislative Assembly. He also met Thursday with Governor Gregoire for an in-depth discussion of the issues facing higher education.

On the hill, besides a full slate of committee hearings, plenty of time was allocated to meetings to reorganize legislative committees and name chairs.

In the House, Rep. Kelli Linville of Bellingham will succeed retiring Seattle Rep. Helen Sommers as chair of the Appropriations committee, which is being renamed Ways and Means. Rep. Deb Wallace of Vancouver remains the chair of the Higher Education committee and Rep. Hans Dunshee of Snohomish remains the Capital Budget chair. Senate committee announcements are expected shortly.

More hearings are set for Friday, but the big shoe waiting to drop is the release of the Governor’s budget proposal, scheduled the week of December 15. Given the state’s revenue situation, it’s safe to say the budget is a package no one is looking forward to opening.

Finally, The Seattle Times weighed in on higher education editorially today, urging lawmakers to put Snohomish and Skagit Counties first in line for a new state university when resources become available. The effort stalled last year when lawmakers could not agree on a location in Everett or Marysville.

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