Spin Control

Special Session Day 1: Don't blink...

OLYMPIA -- Opening day of the Legislature's special session is a quiet and poorly attended affair, with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen at the rostrum, Sen. Debbie Regala (in white, on floor to the left) and Mark Schoesler (to the right at desk) present for the opening gavel. (Jim Camden)
OLYMPIA -- Opening day of the Legislature's special session is a quiet and poorly attended affair, with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen at the rostrum, Sen. Debbie Regala (in white, on floor to the left) and Mark Schoesler (to the right at desk) present for the opening gavel. (Jim Camden)

The special session opens.

...Or you'll miss it.

The Special Session of the Legislature opened and quickly adjourned for the day. Total elapsed time: About one minute.

In the Senate, Sens. Debbie Regala, D-Regala, and Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, were on hand to see Lt. Gov. Brad Owen bring the gavel down to open for special session, accept a few messages from the governor or the House, and adjourn until Tuesday.

Over in the House, Reps. Laurie Jinkins. D-Tacoma, and Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, were the on the floor for a similarly brief open and close to the day's "business."

Opening day for a special session is in sharp contrast to the opening of the regular session, which features all legislators in their seats, flags being escorted in by Washington State Patrol or Washington National Guard personnel in spiffy uniforms, maybe a display of rifle twirling in the aisle, prayers and speeches.

The special session was called late Thursday night, the final day of the regular session, when it became clear the Legislature would not reach an agreement on changes to its General Fund operating budget.  Gov. Chris Gregoire said she wanted to legislative leaders to meet to decide on a budget framework, then budget writers to work out the details. 

She suggested all legislators should come back for Day 1, then go home until a deal was struck. "The last thing anybody wants to see is the full Legislature sitting up here with nothing to do."

Apparently the Legislature was happy to oblige at least on the second part of that suggestion.

For the sake of comparison, here's a photo taken about midnight Thursday for sine die adjournment of the regular session.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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