The Senate ran a marathon hearing on the budget and related bills all day Thursday, ending their session at 4:17AM. The day started with a debate on the rules of engagement. The Senate majority passed a requirement that any amendment would require 60% of the body to pass. The Senate broke for caucus several times, and engaged later in the day to run through a whopping 74 proposed amendments. Some of the amendments were withdrawn by the sponsor before introduction or tabled after a ruling, leaving over 50 that were heard and voted on in a roll call vote of the entire body. Due to the rules change, very few amendments passed. The speeches were impassioned and the tempers flared, but, in the end, the Senate made it through all but two of the proposals.
On a positive note, one of the few proposals that did pass was an education amendment by Senator Warnick. Her proposal funds a 1 million dollar grant to OSPI to contract with a non-profit to develop a program to integrate state learning standards in English language arts, mathematics, and science with outdoor field studies and project/work based learning opportunities that align with environmental, natural resources ,and agricultural professions.
The Senate will resume debate on the budget on April 6th