Washington Legislature convenes Monday for 60-day session - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Legislature convenes Monday for 60-day session

Associated Press - January 12, 2008 6:15 AM ET

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A supplemental budget is the main item on the agenda for Washington lawmakers who convene Monday in Olympia for a 60-day session.

Gov. Gregoire has proposed adding $234 million in spending to the $33 billion 2-year budget approved last year.

She has proposed additional spending for flood relief, firefighting, patient safety and monitoring of sex offenders.

One dispute may be how much to keep in reserve. Democrats want at least $1 billion. Republicans say the budget should be cut and even more put into savings.

Other issues for the Legislature:

TRANSPORTATION. New toll legislation, including a plan for a new Highway 520 floating bridge. Also bills dealing with new ferries and flood-prevention along I-5 in Lewis County.

HOUSING. Democrats propose a $50 million expansion of the state Housing Trust Fund.

EDUCATION. Legislators continue to study the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test as a high school graduation requirement. A new University of Washington branch campus is possible.

FAMILY LEAVE. Lawmakers will debate how to finance a new paid family leave program. Gregoire says if lawmakers want a payroll tax they'll have to put in on the state ballot.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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