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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Lawmakers Plan To Pass Budget, Possibly Gas Tax Package

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Republican State Representative Vincent Buys plays his violin late Friday night in the Capitol. He decided to play after seeing on Twitter that reporters and others were camped out waiting to see if a budget deal would be announced.

With a third special session underway, the Washington House and Senate plan to vote sometime Monday on a two-year budget.

A vote on a gas tax package is also possible this week.

This follows a whirlwind weekend of negotiations which were accompanied Friday night by the sound of a solo violin filling the Washington Capitol Rotunda. Upon investigation, reporters found Republican State Representative Vincent Buys on the fourth floor.

He said he was taking pity on those left in the Capitol waiting to see if the deal would come together.

Legislative leaders and the governor reached a budget deal in the wee hours of Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee, flanked by lawmakers, delivered the news.

“I’m very excited to announce that we have reached a bipartisan consensus on a budget that will benefit all Washingtonians,” Inslee said.

On Sunday, House and Senate transportation leaders issued statements saying they hope to have a bipartisan deal to pass a gas tax package for transportation as well.