The Legislature adjourned this past Thursday after a record 193 days in session, without adopting a new capital budget for 2017-19 or a policy solution to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has halted drilling of rural household wells. Senate Majority Whip Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, today said she is optimistic that the two issues can still be settled, if majority leaders in the House of Representatives will stop putting special interests ahead of ordinary citizens.
“I am extremely disappointed that leaders of the House’s Democrat majority decided to flee Olympia without solutions for these two critical issues that have had bipartisan support. Instead of doing their job and voting, the House Democrats hid in their caucus room for hours, then literally walked out on the families and communities who were looking to them for leadership. Rather than let democracy work, they put politics ahead of people and killed good policies that would have brought needed economic development to every county in our state.
“It is our responsibility to deliver results for the citizens of Washington. We did that with an historic and bipartisan budget for our students, and we ought to have done that for rural residents and community groups who are counting on a Hirst remedy and expecting a capital budget.
“In my view, the Senate did its work. We unanimously approved a capital budget in March and gave the House four opportunities to endorse a bipartisan fix for those in need of water. It’s mystifying how House leaders have been unwilling or unable to approve their own solutions to fix the flawed Hirst decision or bring our proposal up for a vote.
“I remain hopeful that negotiators from both sides of the aisle will continue to work together to find a solution so that we can return to Olympia to address this unfinished business.”