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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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November 29, 2007 11:54 AM

The House vote UPDATED: Bill passes 86-8

Posted by David Postman

The House is in session to consider the 1 percent cap limit. Speaker pro-tem John Lovick ruled out consideration of a Republican amendment that would have expanded the bill to also include "banked capacity." Lovick says the bill is short and simple and it would remain that way.

Rep. Christopher Hurst is the sponsor of the bill. He's up urging members to vote yes, saying that his constituents worry about losing their homes, and echoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, in saying people see home ownership as the foundation of the American dream.

"This bill helps protect that dream and i think that's why we're here today," Hurst said. He said things like banked capacity are "collateral issues" and shouldn't be part of today's debate. He said:

"This bill makes things exactly the way they were prior to the Supreme Court's decision. This will give the citizens exactly what they voted for in 2001. It does nothing more and it does nothing less. ... It would be disrespectful to the voers to add or subtaract to a decison they have already made."

Republican Rep. Ed Orcutt is saying that he wishes the Legislature would go further today that simply reinstating 747. "Even under that 1 percent cap, voters have been concerned about how much their proeprty taxes are going up," he said.

But he said he was glad that at least the 1 percent limit would be saved.

"I think the Supreme Court was a little bit off base, to say the least. ... I'm one of the voters who voted for Intiative 747. I knew what I was doing and I believe that most of the voters knew what they were doing when they voted for Initiative 747."

A half dozen or so members have spoken, so far all in favor of the bill.

Geoff Simpson, who I just wrote about in the previous post, is the first opposition voice heard.

"I feel kind of like the Lone Ranger here. I'm rising in opposition, although I agree the Supreme Court did make a mistake. The people knew what they were doing. They were getting a bargain. I like bargains."

But he says voters weren't given a choice of how best to restrain tax growth. And 747, he said, is bad public policy.

Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, said the Supreme Court was wrong to say voters didn't know what they were doing when they voted for 747.

"In other words, it was an insult to the voters, their intelligence, kind of a slap in the face. And it hit me too because I voted definitely for that."

Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee, said what I thought was probably the best approach for Republicans: Declare victory over the ruling Democrats.

"Our side of the aisle is very, very pleased that the governor heard our cry for this special session. We are ecstatic to be here."

He added that the 1 percent cap is just a "finger into the hole in the dike" and the Legislature needs to come back.

The special session is a victory for Republicans, those in the Legislature and the one running for governor, Dino Rossi. They were out front calling for the emergency session and the governor and Democratic lawmakers followed.

My sense listening to the debate, though, is that declaration has been overshadowed by Republican criticism of the Legislature not doing more today. Maybe House Republicans are just modest. We'll see what happens later in the Senate.

The bill passed 86-8. One lone celebrant clapped.

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