GOP Legislators Trying to Using State Law to ‘Force’ Special Session
Tuesday, GOP State Senator Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) issued a statement, including part of Washington State Law, that he and others say would require Gov. Inslee to call a special session of the legislature.
For weeks now, House and Senate members have been demanding Inslee to call the session, especially after it became obvious that Inslee's COVID lockdowns created an estimated $7-8 billion dollar shortfall in state revenues in the current budget.
"I believe the decision about whether to engage with the Legislature has been taken out of the governor’s hands. I have personally felt that no emergency exists anymore as it relates to managing COVID. Lawmakers should be debating many of these policy and spending decisions. Inslee keeps on insisting that Washington is in a state of emergency, so I’m going to take him at his word. Under the law, the Legislature must come back into session. It’s that clear.”
GOP Senators cited part of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 42.14.030, which demands the following:
“…In the event of a catastrophic incident, the governor shall call the legislature into session as soon as practicable, and in any case within thirty days following the inception of the catastrophic incident. If the governor fails to issue such call, the legislature shall, on the thirtieth day from the date of inception of the catastrophic incident, automatically convene at the place where the governor then has his or her office…”
His office says legislators have been pressing the Governor since late April, but have gotten no response. Fortunato also said:
“We’ve given the executive enough time and leeway, but it’s apparent that the voice of the people needs to be heard. I’m urging my colleagues to convene as soon as possible to deal with the significant budgetary impacts of this shutdown, no later than October 6-8, and do the job we were elected to do - represent our constituents. The law is clear that we should finally get to work.”
Many GOP Legislators and media critics believe Inslee has 'tabled' the special session and budget shortfall, hedging that he will win re-election for a third term. Then, they believe, he will ask for his "Holy Grail"--a state income tax--to make up the billions in tax revenue lost due to his massive business COVID shutdowns.
Inslee has hinted and given indications for several years he's wanted such a tax in WA.