Senate Democrats have announced their committee lineup and chairs for the upcoming session. In the biggest change affecting higher education, the Higher Education Committee has been renamed “Higher Education and Workforce Development” with Sen. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor taking the chairmanship. Former Chair Sen. Paull Shin will lead a new subcommittee on International Relations. Sen. Margarita Prentice of Renton remains the Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and Sen. Karen Fraser of Olympia remains the Vice Chair for the Capital Budget. Sen. Rodney Tom of Medina will take over as Vice Chair for the Operating Budget. You can find a full slate of Committees here.
Expect lots of stories in the press during the runup to the release of Governor Gregoire’s budget next week. Today the Seattle papers had two different takes, with the Seattle P-I reporting a Republican proposal to pass major adjustments to the current biennial budget early in session, and the Seattle Times looking at the often-stated assumption that the state must run a balanced budget.