Politics & Government

Under the Dome for Jan. 13

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, Jan. 13, the third day of the 60-day legislative session.

QUOTED

“My ‘book one’ budget was not a ‘shock and awe’ tactic.”

– Gov. Chris Gregoire, during a Senate Ways & Means Committee meeting Tuesday, responding to a jab taken at the supplemental budget she introduced in December. Gregoire was unveiling a ‘book two’ budget that includes a plan to restore $779 million of cuts her earlier proposal made to services.

“This isn’t a book two budget, it’s a Christmas wish list! … Is the governor testing the political winds to see which taxes are least appalling to the general public? Are we waiting for more one-time bailout money from President Obama and the feds?”

– State Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Thurston County, who put out a statement criticizing Gregoire for a lack of leadership after she presented her revised budget plan to a Senate committee.

COMING UP

Rep. Hans Dunshee is proposing an $850 million bond proposal to pay for energy-efficiency projects at public school and college buildings. House Bill 2561 gets a hearing at 3:30 p.m. today before the House Capital Budget Committee, which Dunshee, D-Snohomish, chairs. Dunshee says his plan saves $190 million in yearly energy costs from new lighting and heating improvements, and that can be used to pay a major portion of the expenses.

The sales tax from projects alone pays for the projects during the first six years, and a little over $40 million a year in general-fund money would be needed to pay costs during the rest of the bonds’ 20-year lives. Dunshee says his plan creates 38,000 jobs, and construction projects could begin in March 2011, if voters approve his concept this fall.

Dunshee had a much larger proposal last year that stalled. But House Speaker Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, both Democrats, have praised the idea. Dunshee said he intends to hold the hearing today, then bring the bill up for a vote during the committee’s 3:30 p.m. Thursday meeting.

ALSO TODAY:

 • A proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults goes to a hearing at 1:30 p.m. in the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Democratic Rep. Dave Upthegrove of Des Moines sponsored House Bill 1177, which reclassifies possession of small amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction subject to a $100 fine. A second bill sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, would legalize marijuana; HB 2401 also is being heard.

 • Gregoire continues testifying on her budget proposals today, this time at 3:30 p.m. before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Compiled by Brad Shannon, The Olympian

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