‘Embarrassed' Senators want role in landscaping State Capitol

As lawmakers headed into overtime to solve the state's school funding problems, another issue came up for debate - the amount of dandelions on the Capitol Campus. Senate Republicans say the campus looks bad, but Democrats say now's not the time to talk ab

The state Capitol is a landmark and a workplace, and some lawmakers are complaining about their office’s landscaping.

“I’m embarrassed,” Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said during a committee meeting in Olympia.

She wasn’t the only Senator complaining about the state of the Capitol Campus.

“In all my years, I’ve never seen so many dandelions,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane.

The state’s Department of Enterprise Services, whose director is appointed by the Governor, maintains the landscaping around the legislative building. However, several Republican Senators are backing a bill to transfer that power to a committee made up of Senators and Representatives.

“I’ve never seen this campus look so bad,” said Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “We don’t have any say over it.”

The bill came up for debate in the final days of a legislative session expected to go into special session to give lawmakers more time to reach a budget deal.

Under the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, justices are holding lawmakers in contempt for not fully funding schools. Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree on how to come up with billions of new dollars in education funding.

“All I can say is the Republican’s willingness to negotiating about dandelions, I would hope would be transplanted to a willingness to negotiate a school budget, and that’s what we really need,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat.

State Horticulturist Brent Chapman said the wet winter and spring has delayed some of the landscaping on campus.
He also said the agency is still recovering from a 26 percent budget cut during the recession.

© 2017 KING-TV


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