Message to Legislature: Get Off Your High Horse and Get This Done

An update (partial) from one of my reps from the 43rd, Nicole Macri:
It has become clear that the legislature will need to go into overtime in order to get our work done this year. While making decisions about the state’s two-year budget is complicated, I am disappointed that Senate Republicans haven’t even made a good faith effort to begin negotiating so we could adjourn on time. I know you’re tired of hearing about unproductive partisanship. After just my first legislative session as your representative, I’m already pretty sick of bickering that holds back our important work too. Even House Republicans—admirably, in my opinion—want to sit down and negotiate.
Nonetheless, I feel a need to let you know that Senate negotiators are literally not even sitting down at the table.

They’re just not negotiating.

I receive regular updates from our House budget negotiators, and they report that they’ve had conversations with Senate negotiators about Easter and the weather, but are met with silence when attempting to bring up the important work the legislature needs to do. This regular 105 day session will end with much unfinished business.
end of update
No, the Legislature did not finish on time, and yes, the Governor has called a special session.

From The News Tribune:

In what has become more or less a yearly tradition, state lawmakers will use a special legislative session to finish writing a budget for the seventh time in 10 years.

While the Legislature hasn’t officially adjourned for the regular session — that is planned for Sunday — Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters on Friday he plans to call an overtime session to begin at 10 a.m. Monday.

“This job cannot wait,” Inslee said, adding he was frustrated that lawmakers hadn’t started formal budget negotiations.

“Both sides are going to have to move fairly dramatically in order to reach an agreement here,” the Democratic governor said.
What's the issue?
Formal negotiations have been obstructed because the two parties have been bickering in recent weeks over the legitimacy of the dueling proposals.

Republicans say they can’t start budget negotiations because House Democrats won’t vote on billions in new taxes in their spending plan. Democrats say the Republican tax plan also relies on nonexistent money because it relies on voter approval to be implemented.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:
Good article from Crosscut on the dithering and finger-pointing.  And something about "ghost dollars.
You know what aren't "ghost dollars?"  The money being spent for a special session.
Think of a chess game that won’t begin because neither side wants to move the first pawn.
Nope, not chess because that would indicate some level of smarts.  More like they are playing checkers. 
And it’s a major reason why the Democrat and Republicans end up playing chicken on trying to come up with a budget prior to a July 1 deadline for avoiding a partial government shutdown.
What next?
Whenever the two sides get the preliminary ground rules settled, they will still have many major revenue and spending issues to tackle. These are interlocking issues that will take weeks, if not months, to resolve whenever serious talks begin.

But the Legislature has not even begun to seriously discuss them because the two sides are still in the initial posturing stage — 103 days into a 105-day session.
Say what?  "Preliminary ground rules?"  Oh kids, you had YEARS to do that.

Frankly, this is why the Supreme Court should step in - now with a big stick - and force their hands. 


Anonymous said…
"Special Session" WRONG -- nothing special about it.

Words matter, how about:

Extended Session
Extra Session
Additional session

-- Dan Dempsey
Kate (Belltown) said…
I agree that the Supreme Court needs to step in with that big stick: Shut the schools down. It's worked in other states, whereas this uncollectible daily fine is a joke.
Anonymous said…
Do these legislators get bigger paychecks by putting off legislating or is their salary stable?
dan dempsey said…
Legislators get per diem for every day in session.

Salaries and expenses ... see RCWs
Looks like $120 per day for expenses while in session.
Jet City mom said…
Yes the per diem is separate from salaries.

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