OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington lawmakers returned to the Capitol Monday for a 60-day legislative session, tasked with passing a supplemental budget and expediting the final piece of an education funding mandate.
The Legislature convened at noon Monday to a new political makeup. Democrats are back in charge of both legislative chambers for the first time in five years, holding a slim 25-24 majority in the Senate and a 50-48 edge in the House.
One dynamic remains the same though: Lawmakers are still working to comply with a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling requiring them to fully fund the state's basic education system. The court has told them that while a plan passed last year was sufficient, it needs to be fully implemented this year, instead of the current timeframe of by the 2019 school year. Lawmakers also still need to address a roughly $4 billion capital budget that has been held up by a dispute over water rights and well permits.