WA lawmakers convene 2016 session

WA lawmakers convene 2016 session


The 2016 election-year session of the Washington Legislature is under way.

Gavels fell at noon to usher in a 60-day session, with lawmakers expressing hope that there will be no need for overtime. Last year they went into triple overtime that lasted until July. House Speaker Frank Chopp quoted Majority Leader Pat Sullivan: If the Seattle Seahawks could pull off a miraculous victory Sunday, surely the Legislature can wrap it up in 60 days.

It’s true that there are a number of thorny issues that will complicate lawmakers’ lives, including school funding, state budget revisions, and dealing with initiatives on state taxes, Citizens United and carbon taxes.  Speaker Chopp also mentioned the possibility of dealing with impeachment of embattled state Auditor Troy Kelley and investigating Department of Corrections’ handling of early release of over 3,000 inmates during the past decade.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee grilled prison chief Dan Pacholke at a hearing. Pacholke called it “a breach of the public trust,” and probably the most egregious mistake in agency history. He promised a full outside investigation and accountability.

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