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Posts published in “Day: February 7, 2011”

The birds

Geese at the Idaho Statehouse/Randy Stapilus

Probably a metaphor for something. Feel free to invent your own.

A bipartisan budget?

Something remarkable seems to be happening in the Washington legislature: Bipartisan budgeting.

There's an increasingly likely - if surprising - trend in both Washington and Oregon in this direction. In Oregon, there's some necessity to it: The exact half of the Oregon House that is Republican could block anything the Democrats otherwise in control might want to do. So far, the split Oregon House seems to be working reasonably well.

Democrats still control the Washington Senate and House, though with smaller numbers than last year, so they could ram budgets through. But evidently they're not. Both the state House and Senate have passed supplemental budgets, separately, with some significant input from both parties.

Notably in the Senate, which passed its budget 38-9.

Senator Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, often a Republican hawk on the budgets, sounded a generally positive note about this one: "This sets the stage to get some air behind us ... and consider how we shape and reform state government." He said he considers this budget a collaborative approach, and while "there are things I dislike a lot, there are things we didn't do, but we're moving."

Senator Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, said that "the budget has always been a partisan statement ... To move to a bipartisan process on the budget, the way we're working it, is radical ... It's important for us to step toward the middle and trust the other side."

Radical indeed. (More about this on the Capitol Record's Legislative Review program.)