State Lawmakers Heading to Special Session

video iconaudio iconInslee announces immediate start of special session; urges legislators to complete budget negotiations while Rep. J.T. Wilcox says: “You can’t force it to happen.”

Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday night announced an immediate start to a 30-day special session saying he wants state lawmakers to complete this year’s supplemental budget. Legislators were still negotiating details into the final hours of this year’s 60-day session but were still too far apart to announce a deal.

 

“Legislators have one fundamental task they are required to do every year and that is to keep the state’s budget balanced. They had sixty days to make some relatively minor adjustments, and have yet to make the reasonable compromises that are necessary,” Inslee said. “I am keeping the clock running. There is no break and no rest – legislators need to balance the books and finish their job.”

Inslee last week warned legislators he would begin vetoing bills delivered to his desk if no budget agreement was announced. Legislators had delivered 37 bills to the governor’s desk requiring action by midnight today. Inslee signed 10 of the bills and said while budget negotiations continue he is setting a high bar for determining which bills he will sign.

“Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar,” Inslee said. “I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget. I continue to hope legislators will focus on negotiations and reach agreement as quickly as possible.”

Bill action information is available online.

Meanwhile, Ruth Johnson has the Republican side in this report:

Wilcox-BUDGET-031016 Mixdown 4

Wilcox: “It hurts deep down to not be able to get done.” 

Johnson: Republican floor leader J.T. Wilcox.

Wilcox: “There are 147 people that are elected in the Senate and House and you have to get a majority of those to agree.  You can’t crack heads and force that to happen.” 

Johnson: Wilcox and fellow Republicans continue to reject talk of 120 million dollars in increased taxes and millions of dollars in new policy during a supplemental budget year.

Wilcox: “Each one of us represents 137 thousand people. And I guarantee not one of those people sent us here to roll over and give up.”

Johnson: Budget negotiators will be back at the table all day Friday.  House and Senate lawmakers are scheduled to return Monday.

Ruth Johnson, Olympia.