[nfbwatlk] FW: article in the Spokesman

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Thu Mar 31 20:44:27 CDT 2011

From: wcb-l-bounces at wcbinfo.org [mailto:wcb-l-bounces at wcbinfo.org] On Behalf
Of Denise Colley
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2011 5:39 PM
Subject: [Wcb-l] article in the Spokesman


Here is the text of the article that was in the Spokesman.





WA Lege Day 81: Plan to save MAC draws heavy opposition - Spin Control -
Spokesman.com - March 31, 2011

OLYMPIA - Hearings started early today, with the House State Government and
Tribal Affairs Committee holding a packed-room session on the plan to save
museums in Spokane and Tacoma by creating a mega-agency for arts and

Elswewhere in the Legislature, the Senate has a long list of bills - mostly
uncontroversial - queued up for a vote. The House Ways and Means Committees
has a list of bills that it must decide whether to send to the floor, and
that list has some more controversial subjects, like medical marijuana
rules, a health benefit exchange and changes to the GET program.

In the early morning State Government Committee hearing,
<http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2033&year=2011> HB 2033
was heavily criticized, with opponents who included state librarians,
organizations ,that represent the blind and Secretary of State Sam Reed, as
the wrong solution for a recognizable problem of not enough state funding
for arts and culture programs.

The bill would combine state agencies that oversee archeology, historic
preservation, heritage, the historical societies, the state library and
others into a single Department of Arts and Culture. Among them would be the
Eastern Washington State Historical Society, which operates the Museum of
Arts and Culture in Spokane, and the  Washington State Historical Society,
which operates the State History Museum in Tacoma. Both museums lose most of
their state funding in the budget proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

To come up with money to keep the museums open, as well as other arts and
culture programs also facing major cuts, the proposal would take money
currently being raised by fees on documents filed at county auditors
offices, and put it under the control of the new mega agency. By funding the
museums, however, the state would delay, or possibly eliminate, the planned
state Heritage Center in Olympia.

Rep. Jeannie Darnielle, D-Tacoma, the bill's sponsor, looked out over the
packed crowd and admitted it was tough to be in front of "an audience of
people who hate you." But desperate budget times call for unusual measures,
she said.

"There are such significatn cuts that there are people on this dias who
don't know why we even keep the arts," Darnielle said.

Reed, whose office would lose the state library and the planned Heritage
Center in Olympia, agreed proposed budget cuts spell trouble for arts and
culture programs. But Darnielle's plan shifts money around and creates a
mega-agency: "It is a bad idea."

The plan was also criticized by members of the state's blind community, who
wanted to protect the state's Braille and talking book program. "With all
due respect, this legislation reeks of spin," said Mike Freeman of the state
chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.

Librarians opposed folding the state library into a mega agency. Tribal
representatives had concerns of putting the Department of Archeology and
Historic Preservation, which has regulatory authority over tribal
archeological sites, into the arts agency.

Some members of the arts community were supportive, as were representatives
of Spokane and Tacoma, which would have major museums closed to the public
under the governor's spending plan.

Al Aldrich, lobbyist for the city of Spokane, said the city supports the
proposal: "it may be the perfect answer.but it is a good answer. Shutting
down the MAC is not a good answer."

The committee is scheduled to vote on whether to move the proposal to the
Ways and Means panel on Friday. Even if it passes the House, however, the
bill may founder in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, has already said the Senate is
trying to find a way to fund the MAC and the State History Museum in Tacoma
through the general operating fund budget and does not support tapping the
money set aside for the Heritage Center.

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