OLYMPIA — Legislative leaders and budget writers of both houses began huddling with the governor about 12:30 p.m., looking for a way to wrap up business before the clock runs out on the special session at midnight tomorrow.
On the plus side, everyone was quite chipper as they passed the time in the governor's waiting room, chatting about things like their Easter weekends.
On the minus side, the math says there's less than 36 hours left to do everything that needs doing — an operating budget, a capital budget, some version of the reform bills circulating.
As Gov. Chris Gregoire came out to motion legislators in, one of the ubiquitous tours of school children filed in to look at the portraits on the wall. Gregoire took the opportunity to greet them and explain what was going on.
Later in the day, she said, legislators might go on the House or Senate floor, “and you'd be able to see something.”
That brought some derisive chuckles from the assembled press corps, which had gathered on the waiting room couches to stake out the meeting and are already bracing for another special session.
“Hey! Hey!” Gregoire admonished the reporters in her sternest teacher tone, then told the students not to pay any attention to crew on the couches.
“We need to see if maybey we can get done with out jobs by midnight tomorrow,” Gregoire told the students as she left to start the meeting.
House Ways and Means Committee's hearing on several reform bills was postponed until 3 p.m. because of the leadership meeting.