OLYMPIA, Wash. - State lawmakers are trying to find out how to overcome a $2 billion budget shortfall. They're also contending with activists from the Occupy movement at nearly every turn.
Members of the Occupy movement were able to break up a meeting of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at the Capitol Tuesday. Republicans walked out of the hearing in the Cherberg Building. Ten protesters were arrested.
Protesters poured into the Capitol Rotunda on Monday as well. While the 99 percent is still a slogan, this was less about the Occupy movement. Instead, this is a group of people fighting for specific programs - people hoping to save Washington's Basic Health plan, unions trying to save jobs.
Some demonstrators were blocked at the gallery doors, as the House was in caucus.
Unlike Monday night's arrests of a large group led by the Occupy movement, a group led by Washington Can appeared much less likely to sit in.
“I'm not prepared to be arrested, but I have stayed in the capitol we were one of the first ones to stay in the capitol a few months ago,” said Sharon Shaw, Fighting for Basic Health.
“We're looking at close to 2,000 medical interpreters in this state,” said Wally Rivas, a medical interpreter and a member of a branch of AFSME, a public employees union.
Did the arrests last night, hurt or help his cause?
“Could there ever be a point where you have too much protest? No, I don't think so, the government will have to hear us out,” he said.
Bill Moyer was one of those taken into custody and issued a ticket for trespassing.
“I'm personally proud to have been carried out by the state patrol out of the capitol yesterday, because I think it's time to stand up,” he said.
If he comes back within the next 30 days, he faces arrests.
“Personally, I don't plan to go back,” he said.