Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Sine Die News Conference - Announcement of Special Session
April 27, 2003

As the regular legislative session adjourns Sine Die, I wish to thank the members of the Legislature for their dedication and labor.

This has been an extraordinary session in extraordinary times. I am especially pleased that in the waning hours of the regular session, we produced a transportation improvement package that will mean a brighter, better future for our state.

But for all of our significant progress, the Legislature’s work remains unfinished. Accordingly, I am calling the 2003 Legislature into special session beginning Monday, May 12, at noon to complete the people’s business. We’re giving the full Legislature a two-week hiatus so we can give legislative negotiators an opportunity to reach agreement on a number of important issues.

Specifically, we must complete and approve the operating budget and the capital construction budget. Approving a public works spending plan that will provide jobs to thousands of Washington workers.

I also ask the Legislature to approve legislation to provide low-income citizens access to less expensive prescription drugs.

Other priority issues to be addressed during the special session include:
· education (charter schools, learning assistance program, WASL reform, certificate of mastery);
· water;
· terrorism prevention;
· non-discrimination based on sexual orientation;
· unemployment insurance;
· workers’ compensation
· shared leave for military service

The 105-day regular session was tough. The Legislature worked hard to find agreement on how to fill a $2.6 billion shortfall. The Legislature worked hard on how to meet the many important needs of our citizens.

I am confident that by applying this same work ethic in the special session, we will wrap up the business remaining before us. I ask the members of the House and Senate to redouble their efforts. Let’s find agreement as quickly as possible during this special session.

I pledge to work hard with the Legislature to find agreement on the difficult but important issues remaining. I will be actively involved in negotiations. I am eager to help the two houses work out compromises when necessary, just as I did with transportation. We simply must do this for the people of Washington.

I congratulate the Legislature for the work completed during the regular session. I am pleased to have signed into law measures to make the state more business-friendly, legislation to make the Department of Transportation more accountable, and bills to better protect consumers.

Together, I am confident that we will be able to complete our work for the people of Washington state.

Thank you.

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