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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

March 6, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Unanimous support not enough for stalled veteran’s bill

OLYMPIA — Welcome to your state government, where a piece of legislation that has won the support of Gov. Jay Inslee and every single member of the Legislature may nonetheless die this week because of political squabbling.

Specifically, it appears the Republican-run Senate and Democrat-led House are each holding up the bill, which would give in-state tuition to out-of-state veterans, because they disagree on which chamber should get credit for sponsoring it.

Senate Bill 5318 passed the Senate 48-0 last year and 45-0 this year. House Bill 1011 passed the House 98-0 last month. The two measures are identical — word for word.

But one of the chambers has to pass the other’s bill for it to go to the governor — who Thursday morning called the policy a priority — and both sides think it should be their version that gets signed.

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, who sponsored the Senate version, said the idea originated in the Senate, so the House should pass the Senate version.

“It’s their responsibility,” she said. “You should talk to them.”

And Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, of Ritzville, noted the Senate has voted for the bill twice while the House has only voted for it once.

But Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, who sponsored the House version, argued the House has already passed Senate versions of several related bills that started in the House — most prominently the so-called state Dream Act giving financial aid to students who were brought into the country illegally when they were children.

Now the Senate should return the favor, she said.

The deadline for one side to budge is Friday, the last cutoff for non-budget bills.

Bailey and Schoesler said they hope the House passes the bill. Appleton said she hopes the Senate passes the bill. She said she does not think it will pass the House.

She said she wants the bill to pass, but what happens is up to leadership.

“It’s very frustrating. It’s frustrating for veterans, and it’s frustrating for me,” Appleton said. “It’s not about me, and it’s not about Barbara Bailey. It’s about veterans.”

Bailey agreed.

“This issue is too important for political posturing,” she said. “It makes me absolutely angry. I will not stand for it.”

She said “something will happen” to get the bill passed.

But, she acknowledged, she doesn’t know what.

Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: barbara bailey, democrat jay inslee, Jay Inslee


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