What’s going on in Olympia?

With just days left in the regular session of the legislature monitoring bill progress is like trying to track the space shuttle on the dark side of the moon. One loses visual and audio contact with much of what is happening.

Here is a bit of information about the process:

When are they leaving? Session is formally up on Easter Sunday. But it’s likely they’ll wrap up on Friday.

When will they come back? Probably not until they are closer to agreement on the budget. It appears that rather large segments of the budgets are still in dispute. No reason to call back 147 legislators when only half a dozen are required to do the work of negotiating the budget–especially when there’s so much negotiating to do.

What’s left to do? The final agreement on all three budgets: operating, transportation, and capital. But in addition to that, there are between 40 and 64 bills that are necessary to make the budget work mechanically.

When will they decide on a schedule? The governor and legislative leaders meet tomorrow to decide whether to send the rank and file home or keep them in town. Once a special session convenes, it may not run longer than 30 days–but there’s no way to limit it to less.

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About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office schactler@cwu.edu, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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