With a great deal left undone, the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die this evening, two days ahead of the deadline for adjournment of an odd-year regular session fixed in the Washington State Constitution.
The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate remain far apart on an operating budget for 2015–2017, and haven’t yet finished working on a capital budget or transportation package either, necessitating a special session.
Governor Jay Inslee announced yesterday he is summoning legislators back to work in a thirty-day special session to begin Wednesday, April 29th.
“Before the Legislature convened in January, I said we must fund education through a sustainable and responsible budget, approve a transportation improvement package and make progress on fighting carbon pollution,” Inslee said. “That work remains undone. A special session will allow lawmakers to focus on these priorities and I expect the work to be done within the thirty-day session.”
“It is time for all sides to compromise, and on Monday I hope to hear openness to that and acknowledgement that the House and Senate will have to move toward each other in order to get the people’s work done.”
A proclamation signed by the governor was published today, making the special session official. It reads as follows:
WHEREAS, in accordance with Article II, Section 12 (Amendment 68) of the Washington State Constitution, the Legislature adjourned its 2015 regular session on April 24, 2015, the 103th day of the session; and
WHEREAS, work remains to be done with respect to the 20l5-2017 biennial operating and capital budgets and bills necessary to implement those budgets; and
WHEREAS, work remains to be done with respect to the 2015–2017 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, House Minority Leader, Senate Republican Leader, and Senate Democratic Leader, 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 Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at 1200 p.m. for the purpose of enacting legislation as described above.
Signed and sealed with the official seal of the state of Washington this 24th day of April, A.D. Two-thousand and Fifteen at Olympia, Washington.
Two years ago, lawmakers nearly ran out the clock trying to get a budget agreement hammered out. A state government shutdown was averted, but with only hours to spare. Whether lawmakers can avoid another eleventh hour situation this year remains to be seen. The special session certainly won’t be very productive if Senate Republicans keep canceling meetings and choosing to take Fridays off.