Special Session: Budget overtime or 30-day free-for-all?
Apparently 105 days won't be enough for the Legislature to finish the budget this year. Now that it is clear a special session will occur the only thing left in doubt is whether the Governor will call a special session or if lawmakers will call themselves back to Olympia to finish the job.
The distinction between these two options is the difference between a limited special session focused only on adopting the budget and those bills necessary to implement the budget (NTIB) and the potential for a 30-day free-for-all where all the old bills that failed to move and any new bills introduced can be considered.
When the Governor calls a special session the topic of bills considered can't be limited. Instead lawmakers can go as long as 30-days to debate any proposals they see fit --- i.e. this would be akin to a brand new 30-day session.
When lawmakers call a special session the topics to be considered can be limited --- i.e. a legislative called special session could be restricted to just the time necessary to finish work on only the budget and NTIB bills.
At the potential cost of $20,000 a day, Washingtonians don't need another 30-day free-for-all to facilitate more creative lawmaking.
Instead of relying on the Governor to call a new 30-day special session, lawmakers should instead call themselves back for a very limited special session focused only on finishing their unresolved budget work.