OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday night he had vetoed 27 of 37 bills after the Legislature adjourned its 60-day session without passing a supplemental budget, and he called legislators back into an immediate special session. "There's no break and no rest," he vowed.
Legislators will return to the Capitol Friday morning to begin a 30-day special legislative session.
“Legislators have one fundamental task they are required to do every year and that is to keep the state’s budget balanced. They had sixty days to make some relatively minor adjustments, and have yet to make the reasonable compromises that are necessary,” Inslee said. “I am keeping the clock running. There is no break and no rest – legislators need to balance the books and finish their job.”
Inslee last week warned legislators he would begin vetoing bills delivered to his desk if no budget agreement was announced. Legislators had delivered 37 bills to the governor’s desk requiring action by midnight. Inslee vetoed 27 of them and signed 10. He said he signed only those bills that dealt with public health, safety and law enforcement.
“Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar,” Inslee said. “I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget. I continue to hope legislators will focus on negotiations and reach agreement as quickly as possible.”
As budget negotiators met throughout the day Thursday, the House and Senate passed bills and honored lawmakers who were retiring. But with no sign of an agreement, and a threat by the governor to veto dozens of bills on his desk, lawmakers adjourned. Within half an hour, they gaveled back in for the special session.
Legislators will return to the Capitol Friday morning.
Washington State Democrats Chairman Jaxon Ravens released the following statement after legislators were unable to come to an agreement on the supplemental budget before the end of regular session.
"It's legislators' job to pass a budget, yet Republicans in Olympia seem to think they work in Washington DC, not Washington state. They have been more focused on hyper-political attacks on the Governor rather than doing their job. Perhaps if they didn't waste their time on political stunts like firing Lynn Peterson or spending precious floor time for a bill to discriminate against the transgender community, we could've gotten a budget done on time."
The Republican leadership issued no immediate comment.
Here is a video of Inslee's announcement and part of his news conference: