Next Week: Special Session

Next week marks the beginning of the special session. The Governor announced a special session to begin on April 29.

A handful of legislators – leadership and budget writers – will be invited by the Governor for negotiations on Monday.

For the rest of the members it is unclear when they will be asked to return to Olympia for committee and floor work.

So where do things stand with regard to getting out of town for good.

The House and Senate have each passed a biennial operating and capital budget proposal. Negotiations between leaders and budget writers will continue.

A special session returns all policy bills to their chamber of origin and they are eligible for further consideration.

Legislature Sine Dies…To Return Next Week

This evening the Washington Legislature ended the 2015 regular legislative session. The regular session ended without the passage of a biennial operating, capital or transportation budget or several policy bills that would be necessary to implement the budgets proposed this session.

Governor Inslee immediately announced a special session to begin April 29.  The Legislature will have 30 days to complete their work.

Governor Announces Special Session

Earlier today Governor Inslee shared with policymakers that he would call a special session to begin on April 29.

The focus of the 30 day special session will be to complete major work that was left undone during the regular session. This includes completion of a biennial operating, capital and transportation budget.

The regular session officially ends on Sunday evening.  The Governor is expected to issue a formal proclamation for the special session tomorrow.

Sine Die Nears and So Does a Special Session

The Senate and House continue to focus on advancing legislation to the Governor’s desk. Both chambers have concurred or sent bills to conference in hopes of passing them before the regular session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday.

On the budget front negotiations have stalled. The Legislature will go into special session, the question is when.  Once the regular session adjourns then the decision will be whether the Governor calls the Legislature back right away or sends them home for a while.  Once the Governor does call the Legislature back, the special session is scheduled for 30 days.  The Legislature can adjourn early from the special session if their work is completed or take the full 30 days.  If the Legislature exceeds the 30 days then another special session will need to be called.

Washington Senate Honors President Purce with Resolution

Yesterday morning a group of Washington’s leaders in higher education gathered in the North Gallery of the Washington Senate to honor President Purce and his more than two decades of service to higher education in Washington.

Seated next to his family and surrounded by colleagues including executive directors of the Council of Presidents, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Washington Student Achievement Council and Washington Student Association, the Governor’s senior policy director for education, and members of Evergreen’s Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, the Washington Senate adopted Senate Resolution 8650 recognizing President Purce for his work.

The resolution stated, “Dr. Purce is an exemplar of a public service in higher education, with his twenty-six year career in Washington state.. (and) under Dr. Purce’s leadership, Evergreen has been consistently recognized as a national leader and model in the development of interdisciplinary learning communities…(his) professional legacy of true dedication towards higher education will continue to live on through the students and faculty he inspired and worked with.”

Several Senators rose in support of the Resolution and spoke to President Purce’s leadership, the power and strength of an Evergreen education, and perhaps most endearing to his personal commitment to the development and nurturing of relationships through his one-on-one engagement with policymakers, music and love of the outdoors.

Upon adoption of the Resolution, Senators and guests in the Gallery rose in a standing ovation to honor President Purce and denote how much he will be missed.

Next Week: Last Week of Regular Session

Next week marks the last week of the regular session. The regular session will end on April 26. While there is always hope it seems more and more likely a special session will follow the regular session.

A handful of legislators – leadership and budget writers – will work over the weekend and through the week to negotiate a final biennial operating, capital and transportation budget.

For the rest of the members the week will include a combination of time on the floor and in committee.  While the Senate has little committee work scheduled to date beyond the fiscal committee, the House – in addition to the fiscal work -will hold a series of policy committee meetings throughout the week to discuss interim planning.

On Tuesday morning the House Higher Education will hold an interim planning session.

So where do things stand with regard to getting out of town for good.

The House and Senate have each passed a biennial operating and capital budget proposal. Negotiations between leaders and budget writers began last week and will continue until an agreement has been reached.

The House Appropriations Committee will meet on Monday morning to consider additional legislation. The Senate Ways & Means Committee met this morning to consider legislation to fund basic education in Washington and is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon to consider revenue proposals.  The House Finance and Capital Budget Committees are scheduled to meet next Friday.

Legislature Moves Pass Policy and Into Budget Full Time

Yesterday marked the deadline for policy bills to pass from the opposite chamber. All policy bills, unless they are deemed necessary to implement the budget (NTIB), must have moved from the opposite chamber and either (a) to the Governor’s desk for his signature or (b) to the chamber of origination for concurrence and then hopefully onto the Governor’s desk.

Both the Senate and House have spent the last week advancing bills to the next stage in the process.

Below is a brief glimpse of some of the bills that have advanced past this major deadline

    • HB 1138: Creating a task force on mental health and suicide prevention in higher education
    • HB 1546:  Concerning dual credit opportunities provided by Washington’s public higher education institutions
    • SB 5328: Changes the dissemination of financial aid information
    • SB 5638: Modifies the requirements of the State Need Grant program to make the grant available to students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a qualifying institution of higher education for at least three quarter credits, or the equivalent semester credits