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Gov. Jay Inslee demands lawmakers ‘buckle down’ in special session

Washington Governor Jay Inslee. (TVW)

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee called for a second special session on Tuesday as the first session was set to adjourn. Legislators still need to reach an agreement on a two-year state budget that satisfies a state Supreme Court mandate on education funding.

Inslee called lawmakers back for a second special session with an impatient tone, saying that legislators need to “buckle down” and stop their “rhetorical statements.”

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“The government of the State of Washington shuts down in 30 days without a budget … that’s unacceptable,” Inslee said. “At that point, the Legislature won’t just be out of business, they will be out of excuses.”

“They’ve got to become reality based at this point,” he said. “We are 30 days away from a government shutdown, we are 30 days away from Supreme Court action, we don’t know what that will be.”

Inslee clarified that “reality based” means that lawmakers have to work on a budget that is likely to pass, and not push agenda-driven measures. He said both parties are aware of what their opposition won’t support and that both Democrats and Republicans will have to entertain options they normally wouldn’t in order to get the job done.

“Nobody thinks about getting into a lifeboat until the ship is sinking,” he said.

While most of the 147 members have been back home in their districts during the first special session, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has met several times a week to negotiate policy surrounding education funding, and leaders say progress is being made.

The state has been in contempt of court for lack of progress on satisfying a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that found that school funding was not adequate or uniform.

KIRO 7 contributed to this story.

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