Washington legislative session draws to a close

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KGMI – OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state Legislature adjourned this year’s legislative session at midnight Sunday after sending Gov. Inslee a new two-year state budget and several revenue bills that pay for increased funding to programs ranging from special education to mental health, as well as a clean energy measure that was a centerpiece of his legislative agenda.

The $52.4 billion budget passed the House and Senate on a largely party-line vote.

The budget includes more than $800 million in new revenue needed, paid for by an increase in business and occupation taxes on large banks and a change to the state’s real estate excise tax.

Inslee and the Democrats cheered what they call the budget’s achievements while Republicans criticized the revenue increases.

A plan to create a public health insurance option and a return of affirmative action in the state (Initiative 1000) were also among last-minute items passed by the legislature.

The health insurance proposal that was passed would create a state-contracted insurance option that would be offered by 2021, at what backers say will be a discounted rate.

Initiative 1000 would allow recruitment goals for minority candidates in state jobs, education and contracting, but won’t set quotas.

KGMI – April 29, 2019