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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 Special Session Winding Down With No Budget Deal

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Washington’s 30-day special session of the legislature ends Tuesday. But there’s still no sign of a budget deal or a plan to fully fund education. That means Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to call a second overtime session.

For the past month, key lawmakers have been trying to hash out a bipartisan deal—at least on how to fund a constitutional public school system. Democrat Kris Lytton is one of the people in the room.

“Progress is being made with education on how do we fund McCleary,” she said.

McCleary is the Supreme Court case that says Washington is not living up to its constitutional duty to amply fund schools. A key issue lawmakers are grappling with is how to adequately fund teacher and staff salaries. But Lytton blames Senate Republicans for not coming to the table yet to negotiate a state budget for the next two years.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said there has been some progress on technical issues related the state budget. But he added, “The final operating budget requires McCleary to be figured out, first how much do we spend and where does that money come from?”

If lawmakers don’t have a budget deal by June 30, the state could go into a partial shutdown.