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Protesters greet Washington lawmakers

Nov. 29, 2011 at 10:45 AM   |   Comments

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OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Protesters greeted lawmakers returning to Olympia, Wash., to begin a 30-day special session called to close a $2 billion gap in the state budget.

State police said most protesters at the Capitol Monday were peaceful, but troopers used stun guns on three protesters, arrested four and distributed no-trespassing warnings to 30 others who refused to leave the Legislative Building before being escorted or physically removed, The Olympian reported.

Police estimated about 3,000 people protested throughout the day, calling for more tax revenue and fewer spending cuts.

"I'm actually very heartened that people are out," Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, a Democrat, said before 200 protesters filled the Senate's upstairs public galleries. "They are very aware of the consequence of choices, especially the consequences of an all-cuts budget, and they are saying pretty emphatically they want us to look at other options."

Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed $30 billion supplemental budget would eliminate or leave vacant 1,500 government positions, reduce the 2012-2013 school year by four days, erase levy aid to tax-poor school districts, decrease the time offenders are tracked after release from prison and reduce spending in other areas.

State Trooper Guy Gill said three people arrested Monday face possible charges of felony assault, including one who bit a trooper's arm.

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