Washington Lawmakers Start Session In Olympia - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington Lawmakers Start Session In Olympia

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Lawmakers are returning to the Capitol for a new legislative session, and in addition to working with a new governor, they face a roughly $1 billion budget shortfall for the upcoming two-year budget, not counting money they will need to spend to improve funding for education.
    
The 105-day legislative session begins at noon Monday against a backdrop of a new coalition that is expected to seize power in the Senate right away. Democrats have a small majority in the Senate, controlling 26 of 49 seats. But two Democrats, Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon, have announced they'll work with the chamber's 23 Republican in a new "majority coalition" caucus. That new caucus holds a 25-24 advantage.
    
This week, outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire is set to give her final speech on Tuesday, and Gov.-elect Jay Inslee will be sworn in on Wednesday before giving his inaugural speech.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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