A special session of the Washington State Legislature will begin two weeks from tomorrow in order to give lawmakers more time to hammer out a budget for the 2013–2015 biennium, consider a transportation package, and address policy priorities that Senate Republicans refused to vote on, Governor Jay Inslee announced at a press conference in the Legislative Building this evening.
Inslee made his announcement less than an hour after the 2013 regular session of the Legislature adjourned sine die without a budget or approval by the Senate of several key bills the Governor had asked the Legislature to send to his desk.
Among those bills Inslee would like to see advance in the special session are the Reproductive Parity Act and the DREAM Act, which did not come up for a vote in the Senate because Rodney Tom allowed his caucus’ most extreme members to prevail in blocking the legislation from getting to the floor.
Inslee also wants to finish developing legislation to strengthen the state’s DUI laws. Representative Roger Goodman, who represents NPI’s home legislative district, has been at the forefront of that effort, which began late in the session.
Inslee told reporters that negotiations over the budget will continue during the two week break in between the end of the regular session and the special session he has called. However, the two sides remain far apart, and we doubt there will be a compromise ready for lawmakers to vote on when they return on May 13th.
The text of Inslee’s special session proclamation is as follows:
WHEREAS, in accordance with Article II, Section 12 (Amendment 68) of the Washington State Constitution, the Legislature adjourned its 2013 regular session on April 28, 2013, the 105th day of the session; and
WHEREAS, work remains to be done with respect to the 2013–2015 biennial operating and capital budgets and bills necessary to implement those budgets; and
WHEREAS, work remains to be done with respect to the 2013–2015 biennial transportation budget and bills necessary to implement that budget; and
WHEREAS, work remains to be done with respect to critical policy bills that need to be acted upon by the Legislature; and
WHEREAS, the Speaker of the House [Frank Chopp], House Minority Leader [Dan Kristiansen], Senate Majority Coalition Caucus Leader [Rodney Tom], Senate Democratic Leader [Ed Murray], and Senate Republican Leader [Mark Schoesler] working together with the Governor may agree upon additional matters that are necessary for the Legislature to address;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jay Inslee, Governor of the state of Washington, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article II, Section 12 (Amendment 68) and Article III, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution, do hereby convene the Washington State Legislature in Special Session in the Capitol at Olympia on Monday, May 13, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. for the purpose of enacting legislation as described above.
Signed and sealed with the official seal of the state of Washington this 28th day of April, A.D. Two-thousand and Thirteen at Olympia, WA.
The Constitution provides that a special session may last up to thirty days. The governor has the power to call a special session, but he cannot end one. If the Legislature cannot reach agreement on a budget by the end of the first special session, a second special session may have to be called in June.