Budget still ‘A work in progress’

The Spokesman-ReviewMarch 12, 2014 

The Legislative Building in Olympia is shown in this file photo from Jan. 3, 2013.

TONY OVERMAN — The Olympian

Here's a bad sign for anyone expecting the Legislature to conclude its business by midnight Thursday: Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler this morning described the supplemental budget, and two controversial bills, as “a work in progress.”

Budget leaders of both chambers have been negotiating differences in the supplemental budgets passed by the House and Senate. No deal has been announced yet, and time is running out to do the work of double-checking and printing the massive spending document before the deal can be introduced in the Senate for a vote.

Two other controversial issues, a bill to add scores on statewide tests for students to teacher evaluations, and the continuation of a fee on document recordings to help projects to fight homelessness, were on a list of bills presented to the Rules Committee as items the Senate could take up today. When Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson said her caucus has problems with both bills, Schoesler said they are, like the budget, a work in progress.

That prompted a question from Lt. Gov. Brad Owen as to when the Legislature might adjourn for good.

The state Constitution, Schoesler said, says it will sine die by midnight Thursday.

“That wasn't my question,” Owen replied. Schoesler offered no response, and the Rules Committee approved the list of bills for floor action.

If the Legislature doesn't pass a budget before midnight Thursday, or has other major issues hanging fire, they could be called back into an overtime session by Gov. Jay Inslee.

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