Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Legislature adjourns for the year

The 2011 second special session of the legislature has adjourned sine die as of around 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.

During the 17-day session, legislators made progress towards closing a projected $2 billion shortfall in the state operating budget.  A "down payment" of nearly $500 million in cuts and savings was agreed upon by both the House and Senate earlier this week, and both chambers passed the measure.

There is clearly more to be done, but this is an important step forward. Budget writers will continue to work on an agreement to close the remaining shortfall clear through to the regular session slated to begin January 9.

Additionally, legislators passed a handful of other bills during this special session that will help Washingtonians affected by the tough economy.  One measure will help military families who relocate to our state by allowing for expedited professional licensing of military spouses.  This will enable qualified people to enter our workforce, and support our active-duty servicemen and -women by ensuring that their spouses can more easily find employment in our state.  Another bill makes an important technical fix to last year's Foreclosure Fairness Act in order to ensure that homeowners and financial institutions will continue to have access to required mediation services.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.