Gov. Chris Gregoire said today she still hasn't decided when to call the 147 state lawmakers back into a special session to complete a budget. She might announce it Thursday but also could be wise to wait.
The Senate and House are not even in agreement on how soon they should come back – let alone how to bridge their differences. Those differences center on how much to cut from human services vs. what to cut from education and also how much to lop for state employee compensation through extra furloughs.
What is known:
Rep. Gary Alexander, a Thurston County Republican in on budget talks, said he thinks it makes more sense for rank-and-file lawmakers to return when negotiators are closer to agreement.
House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said his chamber prefers that Gregoire wait until the Senate and House negotiators are closer to agreement on their budget differences and able to enact something.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, has said her members want to keep working next week.
One alternative is to call a 30-day session for Monday or Tuesday, put the session into a rolling recess that lets most lawmakers stay home, and rejoin as a legislative body when the deals are agreed to next month or in June.
We should know more Thursday after Gregoire meets again with legislative leaders.