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Inslee Vetoes Bills After Lawmakers Fail To Reach A Budget Deal

Gov. Jay Inslee
Ted S. Warren
AP file
Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters, late Thursday at the Capitol in Olympia.

State lawmakers adjourned their 60-day session last night, after failing to reach agreement on an update to the state’s two-year budget.

In response, Governor Jay Inslee followed through on a threat to veto several bills. He also immediately called a special session of the legislature to finish its work. KPLU’s Austin Jenkins reports.

In a late night news conference, Inslee announced that he had vetoed 27 bills as a penalty for lawmakers not getting a budget deal.

Jay Inslee: “I recognize that this is perhaps the largest batch of vetoes in state history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of the legislature to produce a balanced budget.”

Among the vetoed bills, a measure to help disabled college and university students overcome obstacles to their education. Inslee, a Democrat, did sign into law 10 other measures that he said dealt with public health or public safety, including tougher penalties for vehicular homicide.

[Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, a Republican, criticized the governor’s vetoes.

Mark Schoesler: “That’s not leading. That is something completely different.”]

Lawmakers now have 30 more days on the clock to try to hammer out a budget deal.


What did/didn’t pass during the 60-day session?

Lawmakers passed and the governor signed a commitment to end the reliance on local school levies to fund schools by next year. The question is whether that will satisfy the Washington Supreme Court. The court is currently sanctioning the state $100,000 a day for not having a plan to fully fund schools by 2018.

The legislature passed a bill to revive voter-approved charters schools after the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional. Funding for the schools will come from lottery proceeds instead of the general fund, but critics still question whether that’s constitutional.

Measures to create task forces to examine police deadly force and police body cameras also passed. The ACLU criticized the body camera legislation as lacking “adequate safeguards.”

An effort by Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson to raise the smoking age to 21 did not make it out of the legislature. Nor did a measure to regulate the vaping or e-cigarette industry.

A Republican-led effort to repeal a new state rule allowing transgender people to access the bathroom or locker room of their choosing also failed.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.