- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - One Washington senator believes that a financial incentive might help future lawmakers get their work done on time.

Republican Sen. Joe Fain introduced a bill Tuesday that would prevent lawmakers from raising campaign funds for the same number of days that it takes them to adopt an operating, capital or transportation budget during any special session.

Current law only prohibits lawmakers from raising money for their campaigns for the 30 days previous to a legislative session, as well as for the entirety of the time they are in session. However, once the Legislature adjourns, lawmakers can immediately start raising money.

Under Senate Bill 6137, starting on Jan. 1, 2017, lawmakers would also face a post-session fundraising freeze for each year of the biennium based on how long they were in special session during the first year of the biennium.

Fain said he doesn’t expect the bill to get a hearing this session, but wanted to start a conversation in advance of next year’s legislative session.

Lawmakers this year have already spent more than 50 days in two special sessions as they work to reach agreement on a new two-year state operating budget. They risk a partial government shutdown on July 1 if a budget isn’t passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor before midnight June 30.

“We need a system that provides predictability for state employees and the public,” Fain said.

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