WashingtonVotes NEWS: Friday, April 24, 2015
Regular legislative session set to end early; governor calls lawmakers back for 30-day special session to begin next Wednesday
Legislative leaders announced they will wrap up this year’s regular 105-day session two days early, on Friday, April 24th. Lawmakers will be back in Olympia on Wednesday, April 29th, however, to begin a 30-day special session called by the governor.
House and Senate negotiators have yet to reach agreement on critical legislation, including the state operating and transportation budgets, basic education funding, and property-tax levy reform. Lawmakers in both chambers have passed a capital construction budget, House Bill 1115, but they need to reconcile differences in the amended bill before it can be sent to the governor.
House and Senate budget writers will meet with the governor on Monday to start negotiations. Governor Inslee says he wants legislators to include oil transportation safety and his carbon tax proposal on their agenda. The governor’s cap-and-trade proposal appears dead for the year, since even his fellow Democrats would not support it in the House.
Lawmakers and the governor need to reach an agreement on a 2015-17 spending plan before the state’s new fiscal year begins July 1st, or lack of funding will force a government shutdown.
Lawmakers introduced a total of 2,444 bills during this year’s regular session, 1,130 bills in the Senate and 1,314 bills in the House. To date, 277 bills have passed the legislature, including a supplemental budget for 2013-15 (HB 1105); a measure prohibiting powdered alcohol (SB 5292); medical marijuana regulation (SB 5052); and an anti-ticket-scalping bill (HB 1091).
Governor Inslee has signed 66 bills into law so far. He has until Monday, May 17th, 20 days after the end of the regular session, not counting Sundays, to sign, partially veto, or veto bills. He can also choose to do nothing, in which case, once the signing deadline has passed, a bill passed by the legislature becomes law without his signature.
Visit washingtonvotes.org for final bill actions and check out the Missed Votes Report for a tabulation of legislators’ roll call votes during the session. . Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Use #waleg.