You might as well count on it. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown just confirmed what other lawmakers are saying: A special session is lurking around the corner.
Gov. Chris Gregoire was even more clear a couple of hours later.
The scheduled end of the 105-day regular session is Sunday, April 24, meaning its final days would fall on Easter weekend.
"We're going to be coming in to work next week. It's fairly ambitious to think we'll get the whole budget negotiated within that time frame," Brown told reporters in Olympia this afternoon.
With no weekend work planned by the House or Senate, that leaves seven days for the Senate to pass its version of the operating budget on Monday then get agreement with the House Wednesday for final votes on Good Friday.
Brown said lawmakers have already indicated their preference is to keep working April 25 and beyond if the overtime period is needed.
"It's getting close to inevitable," Brown said, adding, "The Senate is interested in working until we're done."
Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt said he's not shocked at the turn of events.
"I think logistically it's going to be difficult for us to get everything done and back and forth between the bodies," he said. "I just don't see any way we can get there. I think the majority party's made the decision that we'll have a special session."
He said Senate Republicans have "a strong preference, if we come back and it looks like we will, that we do nothing but the budget." Because a controversial workers compensation reform bill is referenced in the bill, Hewitt said that would be a major goal of his to pass besides a budget, and that he would want to work on bills needed to get the budget into law.
Asked if lawmakers should go home to regroup or keep working, he said: "I think to keep the process on track we should keep everybody here and keep the pressure on to get it done."
UPDATE at 5:10 p.m.: Gov. Chris Gregoire has confirmed a special session will take place, but she doesn't know when she will call for it to begin. To be clear, as Gregoire herself might say, she held a so-called “Five Corners” meeting – herself with leaders of the four legislative caucuses.
What she learned is: "They can't mechanically get there. So I accept that. I think it's unfortunate and I hope it doesn't discourage them from working hard because they have a lot to get done. As far as coming back the following Monday, I'm not going to get into that."
The second-term Democrat also said she learned a lesson last year when she agreed to call a session to pass a revenue package, expecting it to conclude in a few days. It ran the full 30 days.
This time, she said: "I've told them I'll call them back to meet with me next Wednesday and Thursday at which time I’ll make a decision ”
"What has worked for me in the past is December – where I get everybody to work together, get it done agree to come back on a limited item or items and get it done in one day," Gregoire added.