Sine Die

2016 legislative session • March 29, 2016 

The Current

Letter from Leadership 

Dear Friend: 

The special session has adjourned Sine Die. State lawmakers will return to Olympia for the next regular legislative session on January 9, 2017.

Building on momentum that started in 2013, the Legislature again had a productive year. While no one can defend yet another special session, we can be proud of the final  supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. These midcourse adjustments will enhance our two-year state spending plans that run through June 30, 2017.

Supplemental operating and capital budgets

The 2016 supplemental operating budget passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. This budget is not perfect, but it represents hard-fought compromises that will move our state forward in important areas. This summary provides a high-level overview. 

The final plan spends an additional $191 million over the enacted 2015-17 operating budget, including a $203 million increase in maintenance costs and about a $12.5 million decrease in policy spending. An additional $189.5 million was also appropriated through the Budget Stabilization Account to pay for previous wildfires. 

There are other important aspects of the supplemental operating budget. For example, it makes new investments in our state's mental health system and begins to address our state's teacher shortage. It also does not rely on tax increases that were proposed by the governor and House Democrats. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the budget responsibly balances over four years -- something the Democrats have openly opposed.

The Legislature also finalized a 2016 supplemental capital budget with strong, bipartisan support. You can find a summary here and more details below.

Thank you

Due to upcoming election-year restrictions, this is the last edition of The Current for 2016. We will start up again in the second week of January 2017. I want to thank you for reading this publication and hope you find it informative. As always, I welcome your feedback on the content and format.  

Staying in touch

While the legislative session is over, we are full-time state lawmakers. Please feel free to contact us via e-mail, phone, letter or visit. If you know of a group who might need a speaker or will be visiting the Capitol, please contact our outreach coordinator. I also encourage you to follow us on social media and sign-up for The Capitol Buzz.

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
39th District


 Supplemental capital budget 

The Legislature passed a capital budget last year that authorized $3.7 billion in new appropriations, including $2.2 billion financed from state general obligation (GO) bonds and $1.5 billion from other funds.

The 2016 supplemental capital budget makes $89.4 million in new net GO bond appropriations, leaving no unused bond capacity. Overall, it authorizes $130.7 million in new capital spending, including GO bonds, cash, alternative financing contracts, and other funds. The budget directly supports K-12 school construction, higher education, mental health facilities, wildfire response, and local and community projects.



Aside from supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets that will benefit Washingtonians, there were other successes this year. Here are some examples:

  • Saving public charter schools.* Senate Bill 6194
  • Establishing the Education Funding Task Force to make recommendations for 2017. Senate Bill 6195
  • Addressing the teacher shortage and enhancing teacher recruitment.* Senate Bill 6455 
  • Providing visual screening for students.* Senate Bill 6245
  • Addressing Washington State Patrol recruitment, retention and pay raises. House Bill 2872
  • Establishing the Washington Cybercrime Act.* House Bill 2375
  • Creating the Parent to Parent Program – a statewide program that connects parents of individuals with developmental disabilities with support and resources.* House Bill 2394
  • Creating a forest resiliency burning pilot project.* House Bill 2928
  • Banning certain toxic flame retardants. House Bill 2545
  • Expanding the prescription drug donation program.* House Bill 2458

*Bill or House companion prime sponsored by a House Republican



While there were several successes, there were also some disappointments. Below are bills we prime sponsored that did not reach the governor's desk:


Legislature overturns all of the governor's vetoes 

During the special session, the Legislature took the unusual step of overturning all 27 of Gov. Inslee's vetoes from March 10. In a move described by some in the media as backfiring and irresponsible, the governor vetoed 27 out of 37 bills on the last day of the regular session in an unsuccessful attempt to spur budget negotiations. It didn't work.

Every piece of legislation means something to someone. Each bill that reaches the governor's desk also represents a lot of hard work within the legislative process -- often by average citizens trying to make a difference in their state. It's unfortunate that there was so much uncertainty around these 27 bills for nearly three weeks. You can learn more about these measures in this recent article.  

Further action by the governor, effective dates of bills

For bills transmitted to the governor within the last five days of session (March 6-10), the governor has 20 days (until April 2) after Sine Die to sign or veto bills or they become law by default. Sundays do not count.

Absent a specific effective date, enacted bills signed by the governor become law 90 days following the end of session (June 9), or sooner if they contain an emergency clause.


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