The strange end to Washington’s regular session and launch of the special session has prompted plenty of punditry, primarily along the lines of, “OK, let’s wrap things up. This shouldn’t take long.” A sampling…
The Seattle Times editorial board writes, “Time to wrap up legislative session, pass budget, and go home.”
Lawmakers need to get this budget done, do it right, spend an extra day in special session to reverse Inslee’s vetoes and go home.
They need to rest up for the real battle royale — over education funding — that will culminate in next year’s session.
The Yakima Herald-Republic concurs,
The monetary difference between the Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat House is small by legislative standards — it runs into the millions of dollars, not the billions that kept the Legislature in session for half of 2015 before it finally approved a biennial budget.
So Inslee is probably right that the special session should last only a matter of days. In the meantime, he would serve the interests of the state by signing the worthy legislation that won approval in the regular session’s final days — especially the charter school fix.
Ditto the Herald of Everett,
Washington state residents are desperate for an example of government that works.
With the clock reset for 30 days, the Legislature has more than enough time to reach agreement on the supplemental budget and restore at least some of the vetoed legislation. But that only happens if lawmakers don’t eat up time jockeying for a better negotiation position.
There’s a lot of discussion about the governor’s vetoes.
From the Seattle Times:
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle shrugged at the ineffectual and inconvenient move. All 27 bills passed with at least a two-thirds margin, which means Inslee’s vetoes could — and should — be reversed in what might extend the special session by a day.
Inslee’s veto action ironically could prolong the session, assuming lawmakers vote to override the vetoes — that requires a two-thirds majority — or pass the vetoed bills again.
The Everett Herald:
Inslee said he took no pleasure in rejecting the legislation, much of which he called “worthy,” but took this course to “break this cycle of lack of discipline of getting budgets out.”
Whether his remedy works or not, Inslee’s diagnosis is correct: The Legislature has required special sessions to finish its work in six of the past seven years.
In an extended Crosscut article, Tom James examines the Olympia response and puts the governor’s vetoes in a national context.
Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that using a blanket veto to force legislative action is uncommon, but not unheard of.
Erickson said she knew of only two other recent instances when governors had used similar blanket veto threats to force action by state legislatures…
The veto strategy inevitably presents a certain appeal to governors, Erickson said, because it provides one of the few ways governors can have an immediate and definite effect on legislatures from which they are otherwise relatively insulated. But using vetoes as a blunt instrument comes with its own risks, too, she said.
“It’s like any type of pressure that you put on, you have to be very careful how much and where,” Erickson said. “Too much pressure can be counterproductive.”
As the week begins, it’s not clear what, if any, effect the strategy will have on legislative deliberations. At this point, though, the executive and legislative branches share the common goal: Pass the supplemental budget as quickly as practicable.