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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs his last bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (center) pictured at what's likely to be the last bill-signing of his time in office.
The Office of Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee smiles during what may be his last ever bill-signing ceremony Friday at the University of Washington’s behavioral health teaching hospital in Seattle.

With the stroke of a pen, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the state budget into law Friday. It was almost certainly the last piece of legislation he will approve as the state’s top official.

"I will just say, we all love the Evergreen State, and long may she thrive,” Inslee said when signing the final bill of his time in office.

The governor commented that he was proud of progress made on a number of issues over the past decade while he's been office, including climate change, education funding, health care access, and some others.

"We finally have a state dinosaur, the Suciasaurus, we finally have a state waterfall, the Palouse Falls, and we have the state sport, pickleball."

Inslee also signed a handful of other bills Friday morning alongside their respective supporters, pausing to smile for photos after each signature and to give a shoutout to longtime state lawmaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle), who is stepping down from office.

The event would be the last bill-signing of his governorship, provided the Legislature does not convene for a special session later this summer.

Inslee approved the measures at the University of Washington’s behavioral health teaching hospital in Seattle. It was a fitting location, as the budget includes roughly $20 million for the facility. The budget also adds hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, other behavioral health facilities, and efforts to handle homelessness and improve housing.

Though the governor left most of the budget intact, he did veto a few parts, such as studies of election issues. He commented that election workers already have plenty of other stuff to do this election year.

Inslee isn't running for another term, but 2024’s election could act as a sort of referendum on his final years in office. Aninitiative proposing a repeal of a key climate law is on the ballot — the Climate Commitment Act is one of the governor’s signature measures. Inslee has also endorsed state Attorney General Bob Ferguson in the race to replace him as governor.

Jeanie Lindsay is a radio reporter based in Olympia who covers the Washington state government beat for the Northwest News Network, the Pacific Northwest's regional collaboration of NPR stations.