Washington special session to start Monday
Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday he was calling lawmakers back for a special session that will start Monday, expressing frustration that lawmakers once again are forced to go into overtime to finish their work.
“This job cannot wait,” he said at a news conference. “It is most disappointing that state of Washington and the people of this state are in this position again.”
Except for 2014, the Legislature has had to go into special session every year since 2010, sometimes multiple times within the same year.
As they work to craft a two-year state operating budget — which must be signed into law by June 30 or else the state risks a partial government shutdown — Washington lawmakers must also comply with a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that they must meet the state’s constitutional requirement to fully fund the state’s basic education system. The court has said that the state has until Sept. 1, 2018, to do that, but that the details — including funding — must be in place before the Legislature adjourns this year.
While the state has made progress since the original ruling, the biggest piece remaining of the court order is figuring out how much the state must provide for teacher salaries. School districts currently pay a big chunk of those salaries with local property-tax levies.