Washington state lawmakers head back to work Monday and face a big to-do list as the start of the 60-day legislative session gets underway in Olympia.
Democrats have full control in the House, Senate and governor's office for the first time in five years.
School funding is one issue at the top of the list. The state's Supreme Court continues to hold lawmakers in contempt for failing to fully fund schools, something demanded by the state Constitution and part of the decade-long McCleary case.
The state is still being fined $100,000 a day in fines, currently being held in an education fund. Lawmakers passed a multi-billion dollar budget last year to meet the Supreme Court's standards. However, their new funding plan won't go into effect until the 2019 school year, and the court's deadline is September of this year.
Lawmakers must tangle with how to come up with roughly $1 billion to satisfy the court. The governor has suggested a carbon tax to help pay for schools in the future, but that could be a hard sell.
The House Transportation Committee will also address Sound Transit ST3 taxes. Rep. Mike Pellicciotti is trying the depreciation schedule so people will pay ST3 taxes based on the fair market value of their car instead of the old depreciation schedule right now.
The state construction budget is still on hold because of an unresolved water-rights dispute. About $4 billion in projects have been on hold for the past six months.
Carbon and Capital Gains tax are also both on the table, which Governor Jay Inslee has been pushing for a while.
Other issues on the agenda:
Discussing a possible ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, bump stocks, abolishing the death penalty, and coming up with extra funding to fight homelessness and opioid addiction, which state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has proposed solutions for.
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