Sen. Hewitt returns to Senate week after surgery

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The state Senate's top Republican is back at the Capitol a week after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in his abdomen.

Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla, said Monday that he thought it was important to be present in the Senate for votes on reform-related bills that Republicans have said must be part of any budget deal. Republicans hold a minority in the Senate, but gained control of the budget when three Democrats crossed over to form a coalition with them. However, one of them is not in Olympia to vote during the final two days of the special session. Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, was on a college tour with his daughter in California and not expected back until Wednesday. The special session ends at midnight Tuesday.

Hewitt says doctors removed a thymoma tumor in its entirety, and his prognosis is good, though he's still in pain from the surgery.