Washington legislative leaders met with reporters Thursday in Olympia to preview the short 2018 legislative session that begins on Monday. Dan Frizzell from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has the story.
Two top priorities across the board are passage of a much-needed capital budget and a solution to the Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has impacted the ability of some homeowners to drill water wells. Longtime Speaker of the House Frank Chopp endorsed both goals, and singled out education as one vital reason the capital budget has to pass quickly.
CHOPP: “We’re going to pass a capital budget, then we’ll have the bond bill vote, and there’ll be floor action on water. It was not the right thing to do to link the capital budget to a separate issue. You cannot reduce classroom size without additional classrooms, and there’s over a billion dollars in school-construction money in the capital budget.” [:18]
Those new classrooms were part of last year’s multi-billion dollar package to fully fund public education, and Democrats like Chopp were frustrated that Republican Senate leaders refused to OK the bipartisan capital budget without a simultaneous solution to the unrelated Hirst problem. That put tens of thousands of construction jobs on hold throughout the state. Now that voters have thrown control of the Senate to Democrats, Chopp says freeing up those funds is job one, with a compromise Hirst fix not far behind. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.-