OLYMPIA — It's a rare day for the Special Session: Both the Senate and the House are scheduled for floor sessions today to vote on bills.
Which might cause Gov. Chris Gregoire to feel a little better. As she observed rather pointedly yesterday: “It's very hard to negotiate when you have only one house in at a time.”
The House also has a morning Ways and Means Committee hearing with a potpourri of bill topics like nursing homes, opportunity scholarships and adoptions of hard-to-place children, and a Capital Budget committee hearing on a proposal to lower the state's debt limit, a half-percent a year for four years, starting in 2016.
(Admittedly, that doesn't sound terribly draconian or pressing, but one source on the House Capital Budget Committee said the Senate is demanding the House pass this or there's no deal on the capital budget. With time running out in the session, with is already 70 percent gone, that would mean no bonds would be sold and only projects that could be funded by sales on state timber lands would move forward. And no, the proposed Medical School for Spokane is not one such project.)
A group of House and Senate Democrats, calling itself the Working Families Caucus, had scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference this morning on proposed changes to the Worker's Compensation System, presumably to say what a terrible, horrible, no good really bad deal it is. But it was postponed indefinitely, and no word if they've reconsidered their stance, or just decided they needed to polish the message.
Both the new limits on state bond debt and a workers' comp change that includes voluntary settlements for workers at least 55 are among the roadblocks to the Legislature settling on a general operating budget, Gregoire said yesterday.