No agreement yet: Washington Legislature goes into second special session

Washington lawmakers are still wrestling with the state Supreme Court’s K-12 school-funding order known as the McCleary decision, as well as a new state budget.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday called lawmakers back for a second special session to continue work on court-mandated K-12 education funding and a new state operating budget.

The regular, 105-day legislative session ended in late April, with lawmakers deadlocked in a staring contest over how to implement and pay for a K-12 school funding plan mandated by the state Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary decision.

The governor called the first 30-day special session on April 21 to continue the work.

In a news conference Tuesday, Inslee said lawmakers have been trading off ers in search of an agreement, but “the late movement has produced too little, and it has moved too slowly.”

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“Legislators need to start making the hard decisions necessary to amply fund our schools,” Inslee said.

Lawmakers must also draft a 2017-19 state operating budget, which among other things funds education, parks, social services and the prison system.

On the surface, little happened in Olympia during the first special session.

The Senate and the House rarely worked on the floor and few committee meetings were held. Many lawmakers spent their time back in their districts.

But a group of eight lawmakers — four Democrats and four Republicans — continued to grind away in closed-door meetings to find a compromise on a McCleary funding plan.

Legislators have been reluctant to discuss what’s happening in the meetings, other than to say that progress is being made.

Even with a deal on education funding, lawmakers must still finish a state operating budget.

In recent years, only the threat of a July 1 government shutdown has forced legislators to…

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