OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a handful of bills this afternoon, refining her threat from Thursday she hopes will get the Legislature to come up with a passable budget.
She's signing the bills that are important to her, she said, and that people had come a far distance to participate in the ceremony. So she signed bills that increase penalties for driving drunk with kids in a car, that make it easier for military spouses to get work when they are transferred to Washington, criminal ID checks for entities providing emergency shelter or transitional housing.
But bills that are important primarily to lobbyists and legislators will wait, she said. If either group inquires about when their bill might get signed, they're told to work toward getting a majority in both houses for a budget she can sign. She hasn't found any yet that she's definitely going to veto, and “I hope I don't have vetoy any of them.”
She did, however, repeat her promise to veto any legislation calling for charter schools, should it come out of the special session. That's a reform listed in the latest budget crafted by Senate Republicans and their three Democratic allies. One of those Democrats, Sen. Rodney Tom, is a big fan of charter schools; Gregoire is not, and calls them “a 20-year-old, failed idea.”
Budget discussions were on hold today because one of the key budget writers was unable to attend, she said. More talks are scheduled for Monday morning, she said.