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Republican leaders offer update on session

by caprecord

With only a few days left of session, Republicans from the House and Senate held a press conference Tuesday addressing the ongoing supplemental budget negotiations, charter schools and the DOC investigation.

Watch TVW video of the press conference here. 

Supplemental Budget

According to Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, one of the main hangups in budget negotiations has to do with whether the supplemental budget includes projected expenditures for K-3 class size reductions.

“One very enormous factor is pretending that we are not going to fund K-3 class size in the next biennium,” Schoesler said.

Republicans also want the Democratic-controlled House to pass a bill that would keep charter schools open in Washington.

“I think that one of the things that’s a little bit different is we’ve yet to take any action on charter schools,” said Rep. JT Wilcox, R-Yelm. “We hope to have that taken care of in the next couple days.”

Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, said that House is close to moving a compromise bill, but probably wont see any action until Wednesday.

Gov. Jay Inslee veto threat

Schoesler said that he thinks there are bipartisan problems with the governor’s threat to veto bills if lawmakers don’t agree to a supplemental budget. He said that there are 37 bills on the governor’s table and that that would be “a very poor decision.”

“We are still committed to doing the right thing and the right thing is a four-year balanced budget that takes care of the priority needs of the state,” he said.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said there are a number of bills from both Republicans and Democrats that would be difficult for the governor to veto.  “I don’t know how serious he was in actually vetoing or if it was more of a rhetorical statement,” he said.

DOC investigation

Sen. Padden said that he does not anticipate anymore DOC hearings this session, but said the investigation is still ongoing. “We are still getting comments and leads and communications from DOC workers,” he said.

Padden said that there will be a written Senate report released in April or early May. Padden also responded to the governor’s decision to replace Former DOC Secretary Dan Pacholke with Dick Morgan as acting secretary.

“We’ll see how he does,” Padden said. “I would have preferred he brought somebody new in from outside that wasn’t part of this system and this culture that’s been there.”

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