Sen. Rivers: Lawmakers ‘very close’ to education deal
Gov. Jay Inslee called state legislators back for a second overtime session on Tuesday with the hopes lawmakers can strike a deal on a two-year operating budget that adequately funds the state’s public education system. The governor said lawmakers have made progress in recent days, with offers being exchanged, but they have yet to resolve their budget differences. When the Legislature fails to finish on time, it thrusts the entire state, from students to state employees, in a position of uncertainty, Inslee said. Lawmakers wrapped up the 105-day regular legislative session in April without being able to pass an operating budget. The first overtime special session kicked off on April 21 and ended Tuesday. The final funding package will have to be a compromise, Inslee told reporters on Tuesday, but he added he won’t sign a budget that fully funds education by slashing programs that help other vulnerable citizens, such as children in foster care. And although overtime sessions are familiar territory for the state — lawmakers often need overtime sessions to finish their work — Inslee wouldn’t discuss the possibility of needing even more time.