Welcome to the fourth week of session. This week the pace of legislative action will speed up as lawmakers try to beat deadlines to move a series of spending cuts and a unemployment-insurance tax cut to Gov. Chris Gregoire's desk.
First, the weekend: State Democrats re-elected their chairman, Dwight Pelz, to a third full two-year term. Pelz and new GOP chairman Kirby Wilbur will lead their parties going into a 2012 campaign for governor, U.S. Senate and Washington's new 10th Congressional District seat.
Also from the weekend papers: we wrote about potential cuts to child care subsidies, the progress of state employee contract negotiations, a push to make it easier for soldiers to get civilian licenses, and doctoral degrees potentially coming to UW Tacoma. Also, the Pierce Transit ballot measure is turning into a real campaign.
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• Gregoire's bill to avert unemployment-insurance tax increases could get a vote in a 10 a.m. meeting of the Senate Labor committee.
• Either or both of the two bills to move Pierce County to all-mail voting could get votes today. House State Government could vote at its 1:30 meeting, and more importantly, since it was the Senate where the bill got stuck last year, Senate Government Operations has a vote scheduled at its 10:00 meeting.
• The same Senate panel hears Secretary of State Sam Reed's proposal to move Washington's primary earlier in the year.
• House Health Care hears a bill to ban some kinds of flavored, smokeless tobacco products.