It is day 30 of the special legislative session, which means lawmakers have until midnight tonight to come to agreement on a budget deal to get of town by the deadline. Speculation has begun on whether this is possible with such a short time-frame.
Yesterday the House Ways & Means Committee and Senate floor action were scheduled to take up reform bills and the budget needed to get done by tonight, however, they never happened because budget leaders met in closed-door meetings throughout the day with Governor Gregoire attempting to hash out a deal. By late last night it was clear they still had a ways to go.
This morning the Tacoma News Tribune (TNT) is reporting that a third special session looks likely due to the limited amount of time left. Even if they reach an agreement today, the amount of paperwork involved in formalizing a deal is too great.
“Negotiators left for the night shortly before midnight and Governor Gregoire told reporters they had made progress. They had also slid backward from a point earlier in the evening when a deal looked closer at hand, she acknowledged. ‘That’s typical in negotiations.’”
The TNT is reporting that Gregoire is refusing to talk about calling another special session. “That’s the problem with special sessions and a reason lawmakers are still here on Day 30,” she said. “As soon as they learn they have a fresh 30 days on the clock, there isn’t the pressure to make things happen. Nobody will convince me to talk about a special session until we absolutely have to.”
Senate Ways & Means has scheduled a meeting for this afternoon at 1:30 and House Ways & Means which was supposed to take up reform bills yesterday was relieved of those bills this morning and they placed on the 2nd Reading Calendar in Rules Committee. The 2nd Reading Calendar enables lawmakers to pull bills from the Rules Committee to the floor for a vote.
These actions show there is movement, however, as the TNT reported, there may not be enough time due to the amount of paperwork that is required to be processed before a budget deal is finalized.