Politics & Government

Under the Dome for Jan. 20

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, Jan. 20, the 10th day of the 60-day legislative session.

QUOTED

“2.3 million words were spoken in Olympia today. Nothing got said.’’

 • Ed Owens, a lobbyist on natural-resources issues, joking with a senator Tuesday

“Since when is not getting a pay raise a pay cut?”

Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, grilling a state employees union leader during a budget hearing

JOBS UPDATE

Senate and House Republicans plan a joint announcement at 1 p.m. today to unwrap their jobs proposals for the majority Democrats to consider.

House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt of Chehalis has spoken before about reducing regulatory burdens for businesses. Leaders from the two caucuses are bringing small-business owners for their 1 p.m. event in the Senate Republican Caucus room.

Gov. Chris Gregoire offered her jobs plan last week; it included business-occupation tax breaks equal to 5 percent of large projects’ costs, lower thresholds to qualify for tax credits for creating jobs in a rural county, and a $2,000 tax credit for small businesses that create new jobs but are not eligible for other incentives. The governor also has proposed expanding the government’s multi-agency permitting teams that speed up permitting decisions and allow two extra years for state development permits previously approved.

Majority Democrats have talked about promoting jobs through worker retraining, and Senate Democrats plan to roll out a jobs plan early next week.

TODAY

Several groups are at the Capitol:

 •  Washington fire commissioners, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Columbia Room

 •  State Ground Water Association lobbying with rigs parked on the campus diagonals, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 •  Autism Awareness Day, 11:30 am. to 1 p.m., on the Rotunda’s third floor.

 • Dairy Day, noon to 2 p.m., west Rotunda.

 • Washington state Developmental Disabilities Council holds its 30th annual Disabilities Reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Columbia Room and Rotunda.

 • State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is testifying on a bill to outlaw credit scoring for insurance purposes. House Bill 2513 will be heard at 6 p.m. in the House Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee in O’Brien Hearing Room D.

Kreidler won passage of a measure eight years ago to limit the use of credit scores in underwriting policies.

LEVY HEARING TONIGHT

Lawmakers in the House Education Appropriations Committee will look at levy equalization in a work session at 6 p.m., said Rep. Kathy Haigh, the Shelton Democrat who serves as chairwoman of the committee.

Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed cutting levy equalization from the budget but wants to put back $165 million for tax-poor schools if she can find about $779 million in new federal or state revenue.

Haigh said there is no question schools need the assistance in areas of the state that lack tax base, but the question is where to get the funds.

NOTEWORTHY

It’s showtime for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana at 1:30 p.m. today in the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Rep. Chris Hurst, the Enumclaw Democrat who is the panel’s chairman, said he intends to bring both measures up for a vote.

House Bill 1177 is aimed at decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, subjecting it to a $100 civil fine. HB 2401 would legalize and tax the sale of marijuana. Both were heard in committee Jan. 13.

“There will be a debate and a vote. We’ll see what the outcome is,” Hurst said Tuesday. “People called for hearing. I gave them a fair hearing. People are calling for a vote. … In my opinion, there are not enough votes in the committee and there are not enough votes in the House.’’

Hurst plans to vote against the measures and said the vote will either move one or both to the Rules Committee, or kill them for this session. He said backers of an initiative to legalize marijuana are pushing him to get the matter decided.

Compiled by Brad Shannon, staff writer

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