South County Politics: Need for special session surprises new Senator Palumbo

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Democratic State Sen. Guy Palumbo says he is shocked by the events that he and other legislators say will lead to the need for a special session after the regular 105-day session ends Sunday, April 23.

State Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, a Democrat from the 21st District, says she hopes the session will be short.

State Rep. Ruth Kagi, a 32nd District Democrat who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, says that reconciling differences between the Republican-controlled State Senate and Democratic House will take time.

State Senate Republicans and State House Democrats both have presented budgets that pay for the required full state support for public schools, but — as Kagi said last week — they do it in far different ways.

Palumbo, newly elected to the legislature representing the 1st District, said Monday that he has been amazed that the two sides haven’t been able to work together.

“As someone who comes from the business world, I am used to going to work ready to get things done on time, and under budget,” he said. “That’s why I am shocked with how things have been working down here in Olympia in my first legislative session. Instead of coming together to negotiate a budget that works for every Washingtonian, Senate Republicans have refused to even begin meaningful negotiations altogether.”

He said that the Senate Republican budget proposal is dead on arrival in the House, and the House Democratic budget proposal is dead on arrival in the Senate.

However, he added, “that doesn’t mean we have to get into a staring contest. When things come to a standstill, it’s time to be grown-ups and find a way to compromise on a solution.”

Palumbo, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Higher Education committee, said he would fight hard “to ensure that the budget we pass freezes college tuition statewide, provides funding for our financial aid programs, and makes our state college system a world-class pipeline to jobs available in the state.”

Kagi added, “Both the House and the Senate have passed budgets that fully fund K-12 education but with very different approaches.

“The House and Senate are meeting on a regular basis to reach agreement on how we should fund public education, and what revenues are necessary to meet our obligations,” she said.

“There are many areas of common ground but reconciling differences is going to take a while.”

Palumbo represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, including the Maltby area.

Kagi represents the 32nd Legislative District, including the city of Lynnwood, parts of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, the city of Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

Ortiz-Self represents the 21st Legislative District, including most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo, and part of south Everett.

— By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. It would be helpful if Senator Palumbo would overview the differences in the positions of the parties. This is the second communication from him on this subject and I still don’t understand the fundemenral differences in approach. Even providing a link to the different bills would be helpful.

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