Washington Governor Jay Inslee will call state lawmakers back into special session starting Monday. The Democrat’s announcement Friday came as budget negotiations remained stalled with the regular session scheduled to end on Sunday.
By calling an immediate special session, Inslee ensured there would be no break between the end of the regular 105-day session and the beginning of a 30-day overtime session. "This job cannot wait," Inslee said at a news conference.
The last time Washington lawmakers finished writing a budget on time was in 2009.
“It is most disappointing that the state of Washington and the people of this state are in this position again,” Inslee said.
The governor accused Senate Republicans of refusing to negotiate as a strategy.
“They look at it like it’s recreation, sitting in the sun fishing.”
Last month, Republican state Senator Dino Rossi was quoted as saying, “It’s kind of like fishing, you just got to be patient.”
Following Inslee's comments, Rossi reiterated his belief in patience.
“It’s worked out every time since 1889 and I’m pretty sure it’s going to work out this time as well,” Rossi told reporters in the wings of the Senate.
Senate Republicans spent Friday trying to bring to the floor Democratic-backed tax bills in an effort to show a lack of support for those measures.
Besides writing a two-year budget, the Washington legislature must act this year to fully fund education because of the McCleary school funding ruling.
The state is currently in contempt of court and accruing a $100,000-a-day fine for not providing the Washington Supreme Court with a plan to achieve full funding.
At least to begin with, only budget writers will return to the Capitol for the special session. Most lawmakers will return to their districts and be on call to return to Olympia as needed.
Lawmakers must agree on a budget by June 30th or the state will face a partial government shutdown.
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