On the final day of the regular legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee called lawmakers back for a special session to complete their work on the supplemental budget.
“Legislators have one fundamental task they are required to do every year and that is to keep the state’s budget balanced. They had sixty days to make some relatively minor adjustments, and have yet to make the reasonable compromises that are necessary,” Inslee said.
The governor punctuated his message by following through on his veto pledge.
Inslee last week warned legislators he would begin vetoing bills delivered to his desk if no budget agreement was announced. Legislators had delivered 37 bills to the governor’s desk requiring action by midnight today. Inslee signed 10 of the bills and said while budget negotiations continue he is setting a high bar for determining which bills he will sign.
The governor said the bills he chose to sign had the “common thread” of being related to public safety, health and law enforcement. The bills — four sponsored by Republicans, six by Democrats — addressed issues such as human trafficking, vehicular homicide and employment rights for members of the National Guard.
The 27 stopped by Inslee included measures dealing with wholesale vehicle dealers, pharmacy assistants, fire-sprinkler systems and growing industrial hemp.
Times reporter Joseph O’Sullivan captures responses from legislators, including this:
Republican Sen. Joe Fain, the majority floor leader, said the vetoes are a distraction.
“I don’t think it’s an effective tool but it shouldn’t in any way deter us from doing the job that we need to do to pass a balanced budget here in the near term,” he said.
At Crosscut, Tom James writes,
Explaining his vetoes, the governor referred to the recent years of legislative failures to finish on time. “I respect the legislature’s work, and it is not something I take any pleasure in,” Inslee said of vetoing the bills. But, he added, “you don’t like to see habits become perpetuated.”
Inslee said he wasn’t setting any criteria for what had to be in the budget, just requiring that legislators send him one. That goal should be a reasonable one for legislators to reach by Monday, he added.
James also reports,
Calling the vetoed measures “worthy bills,” Inslee said that when legislators finally send him a budget this year, he’d be open to signing the vetoed bills if they put them before him again.
No word yet on the how close lawmakers are to resolving what we’ve regularly called reconcilable differences. Maybe Monday?