Governor Gregoire: Promises Made, Promises Kept
2006 Session: Building on the Success of Last Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 8, 2006
OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today applauded the Washington House of Representatives and the Washington Senate as they adjourned the 2006 Legislative Session. In her State of the State address, Governor Gregoire said that the job of legislators was to build on the success and accomplishments of last session.
“I am confident that this legislative session will be remembered for several breakthrough accomplishments and for the bipartisan way that we worked together for the future of all Washingtonians,” said Governor Gregoire. “I am proud of the tone of civility that has existed in Olympia these past 60 days; if you look at the work we accomplished this year, you see the spirit of bipartisanship and the absence of heated rhetoric.”
“From investing in home-grown energy markets to making sure kids have the tools needed to achieve academic success, we took on the big issues this session, making real progress for one Washington," said Speaker Frank Chopp. “I'm proud of our accomplishments, working together to improve the lives of Washington families.”
“In the face of the feds pulling back on funding for Medicare, our veterans and mental health treatment, we stepped up and filled in these gaps that are taking a serious toll on our citizens,” said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. “We passed a responsible budget that puts money away for future costs we know we can expect to deal with next session.”
The Governor sought and won targeted investments to help students succeed and give preschoolers a jump-start in learning, to develop a biofuels industry in Washington, to restore and protect Puget Sound and investigate regional solutions to large transportation needs.
She also required a supplemental budget that would save substantially for the future and was able to put aside $935 million for education, pensions and health care costs.
Logjams were broken on several longstanding issues:
- A breakthrough agreement was reached on medical liability legislation that will improve patient safety. After a contentious initiative campaign, Governor Gregoire brought all sides to the table in good faith and was able to successfully negotiate an agreement.
- Gridlock over Columbia River water management was broken when the Governor signed a bill that dedicates water to support stream flows and makes new water available for fish as well as out-of-stream water needs. Work began a year ago when the Governor convened a Columbia River Task Force to study the issue and build a consensus among all stakeholders.
- Governor Gregoire also signed into law signed historic civil rights legislation that bans discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens. Similar bills have been introduced – and rejected – by the Legislature for nearly 30 years.
- Equity and stability were advanced in the unemployment insurance (U.I.) system when Governor Gregoire signed a bill that addresses the most troubling provisions in the 2003 U.I. law.
- A compromise was reached that will help fight traffic congestion. The agreement on road and transit improvements will require a new focus on accountability, transparency and predictability.
“I often say that we can be an example for the ‘other Washington’ and these past two legislative sessions have certainly demonstrated that,” said Governor Gregoire. “This unprecedented reserve is the largest savings in state history.”
Contact: Governor's Office, 360-902-4111