McCleary roundup: 36 days to government shutdown

With a partial government shutdown looming, key negotiators in the Washington Legislature report making progress on the education funding piece of a protracted budget debate.

For a week when state lawmakers — again — made no visible progress on a final McCleary fix, it sure was a busy one.

The clock ran out on the Washington Legislature’s first special session of the year, prompting Gov. Jay Inslee to call lawmakers immediately into a second overtime session.

State schools chief Chris Reykdal offered a compromise to fully fund public education as part of a sprawling, six-year plan he has to overhaul kindergarten through high school in Washington.

And, in lighter news, Joseph O’Sullivan, Capitol reporter for The Seattle Times, finally mounted a goat head on his office wall.

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Here’s a roundup of all the McCleary action over the past week:

On Friday, Senate Republicans scheduled a committee hearing on the last day of the special session.

No specific bill appeared on the committee notice, sparking some speculation that the GOP would make some last-minute move on a 2017-19 state budget. That possibility withered, however, when the hearing was canceled Monday morning.

But on Sunday, Rep. Kris Lytton, an Anacortes Democrat and one of eight lawmakers trying to hash out a bipartisan deal, told public-radio station KNKX that the Legislature isn’t at a complete standstill.

“Progress is being made with education on how do we fund McCleary,” she said.

Tuesday was the end of the Legislature’s first 30-day special session. And within 30 minutes, the second overtime session officially started.

In an afternoon news conference, Inslee indicated he’s willing to work with Senate Republicans to finally fix Washington’s broken school-finance system.

“The governor effectively took a proposed tax on…

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