Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulates Sen. Mike Baumgartner on the passage of his government consolidation bill just before she signs it.
OLYMPIA — All the political infighting, negotiating and debating of the last weeks of the special session were essentially condensed Wednesday with bill signings for more than a dozen pieces of legislation.
That meant that some t hings that generated much angst and several stories during the 105-day regular session and the 30-day special session got fairly short shrift Wednesday as Gov. Chris Gregoire signed what is either the Legislature's crowning bipartisan achievement or its shining example of economic irresponsibility, the 2011-13 general operating budget.
But before Gregoire signed the budget, she signed into law the revisions to the workers compensation system that allow for voluntary structured settlements for folks who get hurt on the job, an expansion of family planning services, restrictions on the amount of time a family can receive temporary aid, a revamp of the Disability Lifeline and a study of the possible leasing of the liquor distribution system.
She also signed what turned out to be the last bill passed in the session, SB5931, which was Spokane Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner's bill to streamline government by combining several departments like General Administration, printing and information services into a single Department of Enterprise Services. agencies.
“Now we'll implement it, and we'll implement it well, right everybody?” she asked state officials gathered for the signing.
When she got a tepid assent, she repeated “RIGHT, EVERYBODY?” and got stronger agreement.
Baumgartner made the trip over for the bill signing and was all smiles, although it's not clear if it was more because his bill passed or his wife, Eleanor Baumgartner, just had their first child less than a week earlier.
Their son, Conrad Michael Augustine Baumgartner, was born June 6 at Sacred Heart Medical Center.