Washington Legislature convenes session

first_imgOLYMPIA — As Washington lawmakers officially convened their 105-day legislative session Monday, a task force charged with finding recommendations for the long-running challenge of complying with a court mandate on education funding failed to provide a bipartisan proposal.The Education Funding Task Force — created last year with the goal of coming up with recommendations to fully fund K-12 education — voted Monday on both Republican and Democratic proposals, but party line votes led to a 4-4 tie. “We’ve set the Legislature up for not meeting the requirements that we set for ourselves last year, and that is something to hold us accountable for,” said Democratic Sen. Christine Rolfes, a member of the task force.Lawmakers are working to comply with a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that they must fully fund the state’s basic education system. Lawmakers have already put more than $2 billion toward the issue since the ruling, but the biggest piece remaining of the court order is figuring out how much the state must provide for teacher salaries. School districts currently pay a big chunk of those salaries with local property-tax levies.After nearly seven months of meetings, Monday marked the final hearing of the task force, though lawmakers will continue to work and try to find a solution as each chamber prepares to release its own plan for the next two-year budget. Republicans in the Senate will release their proposal first, followed by Democrats in the House.last_img

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