State Relations

April 19, 2007

Budget Train Beginning to Roll

The pace of budget negotiations in Olympia noticeably quickened yesterday.  When House and Senate fiscal leaders walk frequently together between chambers, experienced observers know that discussions on the budget are getting down to the final last few items.  Yesterday’s persistent rumor was that the capital budget was finished and that the operating budget could be ready…

April 18, 2007

Does a Watched Budget Ever Pass?

When you are on the outside looking into the state budget negotiations, the anticipation of what the final product will look like can be pretty frustrating.  I’ve been gone from legislative staff for more than three years now, and I can truthfully say the only part of the process that I still really miss are the final…

April 17, 2007

Rainy Day Fund Clears Key Committee

Like many of you, I was very distracted yesterday watching the television reports of the campus shootings at Virginia Tech University.  It was hard to focus on the comparatively mundane matters of Olympia when faced with a tragedy of such magnitude. Nevertheless, there were important developments yesterday that are worth mentioning and that will have implications on the…

April 13, 2007

Transportation Policy Takes Center Stage

I don’t have much to report on the status of operating budget negotiations.  Members are making progress, but many big issues remain unresolved, including some major higher education spending items. To insure I won’t be bored or restless, the “legislative gods” have kept me busy over the past 72 hours working on issues related to the State Route 520 bridge…

April 10, 2007

Governor Signs UW Debt Authority Bill — UW Tacoma Legislation Passes Senate

This morning Governor Gregoire signed SHB 1398 which expands the UW and WSU’s ability to issue debt backed by locally controlled revenues.  This expanded statutory authority is key to the long-term financing of the UW Tower and future University capital projects. This evening, the state Senate passed SHB 2164 which would help to curtail unwelcome…

Answers to Trivia Questions

1.  The other three Walla Walla towns are in Australia. 2.  Kurt Russell. 3.  Boone “Boom Boom” Kirkman. 4.  Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco. 5.  The Ventures.

April 9, 2007

Fun with Washington State Trivia

While we sit and wait for more conference action on the state budget, let’s have some fun with a little Washington State trivia.  In my spare time, in addition to co-hosting a local radio show with my friend Steve McLellan, we also write trivia questions for TVW — the state’s public affairs channel.  They run the trivia questions during…

April 6, 2007

Budget Negotiations Slow to Get Started

Since it has been more than 10 years since Olympia has seen a real operating budget conference committee, there is very little that can be visually observed during the waning days of session to give outsiders much sense of how things are really progressing.  All of the negotiations are done behind closed doors and in an age…

SB 5806 Passes House 96-1

The long-awaited floor action on the Governor’s Washington Learns bill for higher education came to a successful conclusion this morning with the overwhelming passage of SB 5806.  Since the bill was not amended in the House, it can be delivered directly to the Governor for her signature. The bill contains several provisions of importance to the University…

April 5, 2007

SB 5806 Pulled from Rules for House Floor Consideration

The Governor’s Washington Learns higher education legislation (SB 5806) was pulled from the House Rules Committee last evening for possible consideration on the House Floor today.  The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) caps resident undergradaute tuition rates at no more than 7 percent, but also establishes the Global Challenge States (GCS) and the…

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