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Gregoire Convinced Special Session Is Needed Soon

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is renewing her call for a short special session of the legislature.

Gregoire said Wednesday that lawmakers should reconvene soon and for just one day. The key issue: a bill to allow school districts to increase their levy capacity. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Gregoire says school districts need more flexibility in how much they can raise through property taxes. Especially in the face of steep state budget cuts and widespread teacher lay-offs.

Time is of the essence because districts must send out lay-off notices for next school year in mid-May.

Chris Gregoire: “It’s important that we take action to ensure that we can avoid as much of those layoffs at the school district level as possible. So I am convinced now that we do have to have a special session.”

Gregoire also says she hopes to avoid – if possible – a $60 million cut in money that goes to poor districts with small property tax bases.

Other bills that might be considered: deporting illegal immigrant convicts to save on prison costs. And prison sentence restructuring legislation.

Gregoire wants to strike a deal with lawmakers on what bills will be considered in a special session that she says should last no more than one day.

The Governor vowed to veto any bills not necessary to implement the budget.