OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The Legislature's first overtime session this year was the most unproductive gathering of lawmakers in state history. That doesn't mean it didn't cost taxpayers.
Not a single bill passed through both chambers by the time the Legislature adjourned the 30-day session on Tuesday. Still, many lawmakers from both parties claimed regular per diems totaling at least $77,000.
Those politicians are now back in Olympia for another special session because of squabbling over the budget, and they still have the option of collecting more $90 per diems for every day until their work is complete. At the same time that legislators are adding to their overall compensation, agencies are preparing to send out notifications to state workers who may be temporarily laid off if no budget deal is reached.