Welcome to our special session edition of Health Policy News! The legislature adjourned Sine Die at 9:14 p.m. on Thursday, March 10th after a 60 day regular session. Governor Inslee immediately called the legislature back into a 30 day special session at 10:00 p.m. after they failed to come to agreement on a supplemental operating budget. Governor Inslee followed through on his threat made earlier in the week to veto bills on his desk for signature if the legislature could not finish their primary job, agreement on the budget by Sine Die. He vetoed 27 bills, and signed 10 bills . The 10 bills the governor signed had a "common thread of public safety and health and law enforcement." Vetoed bills can be passed by going back through the legislative process during a special session or by a two-thirds vote in each chamber to override the governor's veto.Friday, March 11, 2016, the Senate released a second version of their budget. In the afternoon, Senate Ways and Means held a hearing on the budget. The new proposal adds about $178 million to the spending level of the two-year, $38 billion two-year operating budget adopted last year. That's an increase from the $34 million that was added under the proposal passed last month by the Senate. It also uses $190 million from the state's emergency fund to pay for wildfire costs. Between the release of the Senate's budget and the Senate Ways and Means hearing, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, House Appropriations Chair Hans Dunshee and House Finance Chair Kristine Lytton spoke with the media regarding the budget negotiations process with the Senate Friday afternoon. During the media availability, Majority Leader Pat Sullivan noted the House and Senate had been exchanging budget offers on a daily basis. Representative Dunshee stated the House submitted their last budget proposal to the Senate on Tuesday evening at 8:30 p.m. The Senate did not respond to the House proposal and was silent. Representative Dunshee observed if the Senate had sent an offer back on Tuesday evening, they could have concluded budget negotiations before the deadline on Thursday. It was not until sometime "in the swirl" on Thursday evening Senate Ways and Means Vice Chair John Braun notified him the Senate would be releasing their own budget. Representative Dunshee also noted that working with Senator Braun has been productive and amicable. Congratulations, to the winner of last week's Policy Quiz. Our lucky winner received a Starbucks gift card. The correct answer for this last week can be found in the "Quiz Box" to the right. Last Thursday our colleagues Amy Brackenbury and Nick Federici were having fun with the fact the Legislature was not adjourning Sine Die. They were throwing about the phrases, "Psyche Die" and "Sine Lie." In lieu of a Policy Quiz while we are hanging in the dangle, Whitney had the brilliant idea of holding a T-shirt contest. Send us your best ideas, tag lines, and slogans about what should be on a T-shirt at the Washington State Legislative Gift Shop. Your submission doesn't need to include Sine Die.
The first three people with the best submissions, will win a prize. Good luck!
We will be continuing to keep you updated with future status updates as appropriate. While we are waiting and watching, if you have bill or policy questions, please feel free to direct them to Julie Peterson at email@example.com or my Twitter handle. Ever forward!