Saturday, April 16, 2011

Washington State Legislature Special Session Likely

With the House passing its budget last week with the passage of HB 1087 the Senate has roughly a week to pass the budget bill back. HB 1087 was in Executive Session on Friday (amendments and voting) it is unlikely that both houses will come to an agreement and have time to pass supporting bills that make the budget function, and have time for the House to consider the changes made by the Senate.

With a Special Session becoming mire likely, this is how it works:
- If two-thirds in the House and Senate vote to do so, the Legislature can call itself into special session. If they go this route, they can limit the scope of the work that they do.

- During a special session called by the Legislature, a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate can add items to the agenda.

- If the governor calls the Legislature into special session, she can suggest what they work on but they are not bound to that suggestion.

- In either case, the special session is limited to 30 days a pop.

- Some recent special sessions include 2001 and 2003 — each had three special sessions.

- Last year, the Legislature had two special sessions — a 30-day session immediately after regular session, and a one-day special session in December to make early-action budget cuts. Both were called by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Details on how special sessions work, in case you forgot

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D) was quoted by TVW on the chances of completing the people's business before Easter Sunday, the last scheduled day of the regular session.

If they can't get out by Friday, then they will take the weekend off and let the legislators that travel from around the state a chance to go home for a few days.

None of this is surprising.