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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

April 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Pace of bills passed by Legislature slowest since 1983

Number of bills passed by the Legislature since 1981

Number of bills passed by the Legislature, and party split

The past 105-day session was the second least productive in 33 years, in terms of the overall number of bills sent to the governor for signature, according a recent analysis done by Patrick McDonald, an assistant to the Secretary of state.

McDonald only looked at long sessions. In odd-number years, lawmakers convene a 105-day regular session and in even years a 60-day regular session. However, they often go into special session when they are unable to finish their work.

That will be the case again this year. A special session is slated to start on May 13 to tackle a wide range of issues including the state budget, a transportation tax package, legislation cracking down on drunken driving and gun control.

McDonald’s analysis showed 332 bills were sent to the governor this year. That’s the lowest number since 1983 when 315 bills were signed into law. It’s worth noting that three of the five lowest production years were when different parties controlled the House and Senate, or there was a tie. That can put a crimp on how many bills make it through the Legislature.

Republicans took control of the Senate this year for the first time in eight years when two Democrats, Sens. Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, crossed party lines to caucus with the GOP. I changed McDonald’s chart to reflect that Tom and Sheldon are with the Republicans in the majority caucus.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: divided government, legislation


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