As if on cue, the weather has turned remarkably beautiful this afternoon and that generally means that the end of session is right around the corner. “Sine Die” is Latin for “without day” and is used to refer to legislative bodies whose terms are coming to an end. For the 2007 Washington State Legislature, that means midnight (or sooner) this Sunday April 22.
As of 4:30 p.m. this afternoon, we were still waiting for public information on the biennial capital budget which was finished yesterday. What’s delaying matters is House and Senate conferees refusing to sign the conference report (the vehicle that they will vote on to pass the capital budget) until each chamber passes a bill important to both sides. Hopefully, that will occur tonight and we will have certainty on our 2007-09 construction budget.
As for the operating budget, final decisions were made at noon today and we understand the bill has gone to the printer. The plan is to sign the operating budget conference report tomorrow morning and details are expected to be available by noon. Legislative rules require that conference reports literally rest on the bar (rostrum) of each chamber for 24 hours before the bodies can act on them. That means voting on the budgets won’t occur until Sunday.
One issue that is now totally resolved is the higher education Washington Learns legislation. I attended the Governor’s signing ceremony this afternoon for SB 5806. I was joined by representatives from the Governor’s office, Council of Presidents, WSU, the Washington Student Lobby, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and several legislators including prime sponsor Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville), Sen. Paull Shin (D-Edmonds), Sen. Jerome Delvin (R-Richland) and Rep. Deb Wallace (D-Vancouver).
I will be here all weekend waiting patiently for our operating and capital budgets. As soon as information becomes available, I will post summaries to the website so check back on Saturday and Sunday to see what’s up.