Special session quiets down, but at least 11 protesters arrested
Six people were arrested for disorderly conduct during the incident at the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing. Also Tuesday, the Washington State Patrol reported the arrest of five people for violating terms of the trespassing citations they received in protests Monday.
In spite of the arrests, lawmakers enjoyed a much quieter second day of a special session called to deal with a $1.4 billion budget shortfall.
On Monday, 3,000 people came to Olympia for a wave of rallies involving people opposed to reductions in spending on schools, health care and human services. When the Capitol closed at 5:30 p.m., hundreds remained inside and had to be hauled out by troopers.
Four people were arrested, including a 26-year-old Lynnwood man, on suspicion of felony assault, resisting arrest and failure to disperse. State troopers also issued trespass warnings to 30 people. Anyone who receives such a warning cannot be on any Capitol Campus property for the ensuing 30 days or face arrest, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Six state troopers suffered minor injuries Monday including two who were bitten, said WSP spokesman Bob Calkins.
An employee of the Department of Enterprise Services suffered bruised ribs and minor facial injuries when protesters attempted to force their way back into the Capitol after it closed, he said.
Lawmakers will likely have to cut spending somewhere to cover the extra costs of dealing with the protesters, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday.
"Their message here is 'No more cuts.' Well, if we have to pay overtime and so on, there will be more cuts by this alone," Gregoire said. "We can ill-afford in these tough times to spend this money."
Through Monday evening, the state patrol estimated it had spent $96,000 on staffing for the first day of demonstrations.
Of the total, $76,000 covered straight pay of troopers who would have been working Monday though not necessarily in Olympia. Another $12,000 covered overtime and $8,200 paid for meals, lodging and travel costs for troopers brought in from other parts of the state to help out.
"It impacts our budget because it comes out my operating dollars," said WSP Chief John Batiste. "It takes away from other things we could be using our resources for. These (troopers) could be out saving lives and preventing tragedies."
Meanwhile, Gregoire thanked those who did follow the rules Monday.
"The vast majority of people here yesterday expressed themselves, made their voices heard, were respectful and lived by the law and they were heard," she said. "Those who are not abiding by the law, I can't hear them."
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; email@example.com
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