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Washington Legislature Kicks Off Today

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January 8, 2007

With Democrats in control and money to spend, the Washington State legislature heads back into session today. One of the big recipients from the almost $2 billion budget surplus is expected to be education, but lawmakers are also facing a variety of other issues from land-use laws and a rainy day fund to health care.

Some 200 nursing home workers are at the capitol today to call for better funding for the state's nursing facilities. Alex Thompson is a nurses' aide:

"We have over 800 nursing home facilities inside the state, there's really not enough money when you have upwards of 100 - 200 residents per nursing home the staff has to provide care for."

Barbara Seitle with the League of Women Voters says one of the key issues they're hoping to see addressed is public financing for state elections.

"It is particularly important in judicial races because the judiciary has to remain independent of any kind of special interest."

The new session opens at noon today in Olympia.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WA