WA Legislature takes on budget, gay marriage starting today

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by Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on January 9, 2012 at 7:12 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 9 at 10:41 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash.-- Lawmakers are returning to the Capitol, tasked with closing a roughly $1 billion budget shortfall.

The 60-day legislative session begins Monday, and in addition to weighing budget cuts and a potential sales tax increase, lawmakers will also address big ticket social issues, including gay marriage and marijuana legalization.

Gov. Chris Gregoire renewed a broader discussion on same-sex marriage as she publicly announced her support last week and said she'd be pushing for legislation to be passed in the coming months. A marijuana legalization effort, in the form of an initiative to the Legislature, is also on the table. Supporters turned in their signatures last month, and if the Legislature doesn't take the issue up it immediately goes to the November ballot.

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