The news from Olympia is not encouraging.
The Seattle Times reports, “Little progress toward fixing Olympia’s last-minute meltdown.“
Nearly a week after the state Senate failed to delay the K-12 class-size-reduction measure known asInitiative 1351, lawmakers have made little progress toward resolving the issue.
The 1351 delay/amendment was anticipated all session; implementing the bill adds $2 billion impossible-to-find dollars to 2015-17 state spending. But, as the Times points out,
Senate Democrats pressed Senate Republicans to support an unrelated bill in exchange for passage of the proposed delay to I-1351. When no agreement was reached, the bill delay to I-1351 — which needed a two-thirds majority and which was already approved by the House — failed.
The dust-up at dawn also halted bills related to completing the state’s capital budget and a $16 billion transportation package.
Some Senate Democrats believe it’s not necessary to handle 1351 now. (The Senate Democratic leader explains the caucus position here.) The Associated Press reports,
[Senate Minority Leader Sharon] Nelson said she wants to see the construction budget and transportation package resolved this year, but she stressed that she believes action on the initiative can be delayed until next year’s legislative session.
The House’s top budget writer, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, offered no support for revising the bill that delays much of the initiative for four years. It already passed that chamber 72-26. “That thing is done,” Hunter said.
Gov. Jay Inslee, who on Monday signed some 30 bills passed in the days before the stalemate, ducked questions about the stalemate after his public appearances. A spokeswoman said Inslee and his staff are talking with legislative leaders “to find a way for lawmakers to get their work done, and we believe that will happen soon.”
Soon would be good.
More coverage of the inaction at Crosscut.