Lawmakers Continue Overtime in Dispute Over Water Rights
SEATTLE (AP) — The Legislature averted a partial government shutdown last week by passing a two-year operating budget. But $4 billion in new construction projects and money for a few hundred state jobs still hang in the balance while the state capital budget has been held up by a dispute over water rights.
Senate Republicans say they won't pass a two-year capital budget without legislation aimed at overturning a recent state Supreme Court known as the Hirst decision. That ruling effectively limited the use of new domestic wells in certain rural areas.
The Democratic-controlled House approved a $4.2 billion capital budget on a strong bipartisan 92-1 vote in the early morning hours of Saturday. But the Republican-controlled Senate adjourned without taking action.
Lawmakers have proposed various bills in response the Hirst decision, but there has been little agreement so far.