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Analysis: Flurry of activity marks final week of regular legislative session

Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press
A legislative page walks on a sidewalk near the Insurance Building and the Legislative Building, Monday, April 22, 2019, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Monday marked the start of the last week of the regular session of the Legislature.

We’re in the final week of the regular legislative session. And state lawmakers have been busy, passing bills and continuing negotiations for the state’s two-year spending plan. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins provided the latest updates in his weekly chat with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, told Jenkins she was “upbeat” about budget talks, so much so that lawmakers took Easter Sunday off from negotiations.

“The goal is to have a budget deal between the House and the Senate by Friday at the latest, so they can get done by Sunday, which is the last day of the 105-day session,” Jenkins said. But, he added, “there are definitely things that could trip them up, put them into overtime.”

While the deal requires Democrats negotiating with Democrats over fairly similar spending proposals, Jenkins said, “how they pay for that spending and their proposed tax packages were pretty different.”

Plus, there’s not a lot of time left to work out the details. “Anything could happen,” Jenkins said.

The state House and Gov. Jay Inslee each rolled out capital gains tax proposals, something the Senate has not contemplated as part of its budget. It’s likely an issue that could hold up a budget deal, Jenkins said. 

“We don’t know where that one is going to end up at this point,” he said.

Listen to the full conversation to hear more about budget negotiations, as well as passage of the clean energy bill, elimination of the measles vaccine exemption, a first-in-the-nation human composting law, and more.

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.
Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.