Some of you may be wondering if the budget is complete and we’ve passed our school funding and reform plan, why is the Legislature still in session?
Last fall, a ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court made a significant change in how counties determine whether to issue building permits for those that rely on water from an underground well; this is known as the Hirst decision.
The ruling greatly restricts people’s ability to build on their own property, which has led to a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to fix state law in a way that allows counties to move single family home construction forward, while maintaining adequate water availability for a variety of purposes.
The lack of clarity means families who already own property and are attempting to build a home have not been able to get a permit and are stuck in limbo absent the Legislature taking action.
Despite voting on a bipartisan solution to this issue earlier in the year in the Senate, we still have not reached agreement with the House and continue working to find resolution.
We also have unfinished business with the state’s capital budget, which pays for long-term infrastructure and local projects for the public good. These include items like school construction, flood prevention infrastructure and grants for things like community centers and job skills training locations.
Washingtonians want us to come up with a solution for both of these issues. Working together in good faith is the only way that will happen. While the current 30-day special session is scheduled to end Thursday, I have every expectation that we can and should finish both tasks by then.