Politics & Government

Under the Dome for Jan. 23

Good morning. Today is Saturday, Jan. 23, the 13th day of the 60-day legislative session.

NOTEWORTHY

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen of the state Supreme Court issued her State of the Judiciary report to lawmakers Friday, cautioning that ongoing budget cuts are eroding the court system.

“My colleagues at the trial court levels have shown extraordinary leadership in the face of our state’s fiscal crisis, working diligently with local counties and cities and the state on ways to save programs that affect the lives of so many of our state’s citizens,” Madsen wrote. “However, the financial crisis is taking a serious toll.”

She said superior courts “have taken the brunt of cuts to date” — more than $10 million in 2009 — and face an additional $7 million in 2010. “This has resulted in elimination of drug courts and juvenile court services and delays of civil trials,” she wrote in the nine-page letter. The full report is at www.courts.wa.gov.

COMING UP

 • Senate Democrats plan to outline their job-creation plans Tuesday, said Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. A key part of the proposal is work- force training. Senate and House Republicans outlined proposals this week that focused on lower taxes, major changes to the worker-compensation program and a proposal to “smooth” increases in unemployment insurance taxes that are beginning to shoot up as struggling businesses that laid off workers last year now have to pay back higher premiums into the system.

 • Also Tuesday: The health care forums continue at First Christian Church in downtown Olympia with Republican leaders on health care in the Legislature – Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of Wenatchee and Rep. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale. The event runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the church, at Seventh Avenue and Franklin Street. For more information, call 360-456-8331.

Compiled by Brad Shannon

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