May 17, 2007

Governor Signs Budget Bills — 2007 Officially “Closed”

By Randy Hodgins

It’s always easy to fall into the trap that a legislative session ends when the gavel falls on Sine Die.  But Olympia veterans know that while state legislators, lobbyists and staffers may have left town quicker than the Husky varsity 8 at the Pac-10 crew championships, there are hundreds of bills (including the budgets) that must receive the Governor’s signature before they actually become law.

Last Tuesday May 15, Governor Gregoire completed action on the remaining bills from the 2007 session, including the biennial operating, capital and transportation budgets.  Although each budget was signed with partial vetoes, none of those vetoes affected resources to be received by the University.  In addition to the budget measures, the Governor also signed several other important bills including the new state rainy day fund (which must be approved by the voters this November); repeal of the state’s “gain sharing” pension benefit, and a measure supported by the UW to extend our authority for alternative public works contracting.

The Governor also signed into law SB 6099 which establishes a mediation process for the State Route 520 expansion project.  This measure creates a mediation process fo resolving concerns regarding community impacts caused by the bridge replacement.  Two sections of the bill were vetoed; one permitting the mediator to conduct an independent review of alternative options impacting the portion of the bridge that passes through the Arboretum and the section prohibiting on-site construction on the bridge until a final financing plan is prepared.

And for those of you who like to plan ahead, the 2008 legislative session begins in 242 days.

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