Not-so-special legislative sessions

The legislative countdown clock is ticking.

I think.

I hope.

Should someone check its batteries?

Lawmakers are fast approaching the end of a double overtime legislative session. On Thursday, the chief Republican budget writer introduced a stopgap measure that would keep the government running for another month if they fail to adopt a two-year budget by July 1. 

Without a deal, the government starts partially shutting down on that date.

Republicans were quick to say they don’t believe their backup plan will be necessary.

Earlier this week, another Republican proposed an interesting idea: link lawmakers’ campaign fundraising abilities to how long they are in session.

Sen. Joe Fain’s measure would prohibit lawmakers from accepting contributions for the same numbers of days it takes them to adopt a two-year operating budget, a capital budget or a transportation budget during a special legislative session.

Right now, lawmakers can’t raise campaign funds while they are in session or 30 days before the legislative session starts.

So far this year, lawmakers have spent 50 days in a special legislative session. They have until midnight on Saturday to reach a two-year operating budget or the governor will likely have to call them back for a third special session.

In 2003, a similar scenario played out in the state capitol; Washington legislators are accustomed to finishing their work in an overtime session.

Something tells me Sen. Fain’s bill could make Washington’s special legislative sessions, well, a little less special.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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