After a regular 105-day session followed by three 30-day special sessions, the Legislature called it quits for 2017 (so far). These special sessions come as no surprise, as over the past several years the divided Legislature has typically needed special sessions to resolve its business. However, 2017 set a record for the number of days the Legislature was in session.
During the regular session, lawmakers agreed on a bipartisan 2017-19 transportation budget. They reached agreement on the biennial operating budget hours before a June 30th deadline, averting a state government shutdown. Included in that budget package was an education funding plan designed to meet the Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate primarily through a state levy swap. A reduction of the B&O tax rate on manufacturers that was included in the budget deal was subsequently vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee, instilling further acrimony into an already bitterly divided and opaque budget process. Continue reading 2017 Legislative Session Recap
Last week marked the end of the 1st Special Session of 2017, and Gov. Jay Inslee called the Legislature back into session for a second 30-day term. The Regular Session adjourned on April 23. These special sessions come as no surprise, as over the past several years the divided Legislature has typically needed special sessions to resolve its business.
Legislators have not come to agreement yet on an education plan to meet the Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate, whether to increase taxes, or the 2017-19 operating and capital budgets. However, they reached bipartisan agreement on a biennial transportation budget during the Regular Session. The end of the state’s fiscal year is June 30, so legislators will face increased pressure to reach a budget agreement by then.
During the past month, the governor has taken action on bills passed during the regular session. A full list of the governor’s actions can be found here.
Below is a list of issues that we worked on or were following during the legislative session, as well as updates on where those issues stand now. Some of the unresolved issues may again surface as the Legislature gets closer to a final go-home budget deal, presumably in late June.
Legislators are still considering a proposal to fund two agricultural science buildings on the WSU Pullman campus. The House Capital Budget provides $38.1 million for the first stage of the Global Animal Health Phase II project — the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL). However, no funding was provided for the new Plant Sciences Building in the House budget. The Senate version of the Capital Budget provides $52 million for Plant Sciences and $23 million for Global Animal Health building. Both buildings are essential to Washington agriculture, and we support the funding of both projects.