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Posts published in “Day: March 8, 2006”

Results, ahead of schedule

Stopping by the Washington statehouse today, neither the House nor the Senate seemed in particularly rushed, tense, and agitated sine die mode (this being the norm on the edge of adjourning).

Washington statehouseTrue, their leaders had been making noises about adjourning Wednesday, but leadership always says things like that - gotta get the troops in the adjournin' frame of mind, you know. When we departed the statehouse, inthe midst of a particularly fierce rain, it was in the conviction that final adjounrment today was highly unlikely. After all, the state constitution still gave them another day for the abbreviated session - legislators always use all the time available.

So what do you know? Six hours later, they up and adjourned.

Shouldn't have been such a shock: That early wrapup was of a piece with what had gone before. On the day this term of the Washington Legislature began, a year ago January, it was the most bitterly, angrily divided in decades, maybe ever, with the arrival as well of a new governor whose very legitimacy was ferociously disputed by half the state and just under half the legislature. Mandate? Political chits? You gotta be kidding. Few legislative sessions in any state, ever, may have started less auspiciously.

From that point on, up through its final actions on Wednesday, this term of the Washington Legislature has exceeded expectations and pushed through one important piece of legislation after another - on roads, on medicine, on water rights, on a batch of other matters (even sexual predators, a subject which needed little revision in state law but this year did get a few useful additions). Seldom have Washington's legislators been so able to return home to constituents and point to such an impressive record.

These guys - and this level of productivity involved plenty of members of both parties, even if just one (the Democrats) was in charge - could give lessons.


Don't see how you can possibly call it "Connecting Idaho" any more. Based on the plans developed by legislators, what was a massive, generational effort to link parts of Idaho with what would amount to a new road system, has been reduced to a handful of maintenance jobs.

That is the direction being taken by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. According to the Idaho Statesman report on its proceedings: "The committee voted to divide most of the money among three projects: $70 million to I-84 between Caldwell and Meridian, $65.6 million to U.S. 30 between McCammon and Soda Springs and $45.6 million to U.S. 95 between Worley and Setters. Of the remaining money, $15 million is divided between three additional projects and $3.8 million is left over, presumably to pay project managers Washington Group International and Denver's CH2M Hill."

(Of those three main projects, our opinion is that the first and third are most worthy, and we'd have a couple of other recommendations for the other spot ... but we digress.)

Some of what JFAC is doing here is simply the result of revised cost and revenue estimates. But there is more as well, and that is where the serious bumping of heads is likely to occur with Governor Dirk Kempthorne.

Are we ready for the Gov/Xgr Mega-Facroff III?