What is supposed to be a short 60-day legislative session gets underway in Olympia Monday, but there is a lot to take care of in 2020.
Governor Inlsee made clear homelessness is a top priority in his proposed budget, which looks to pull some $300 million from the state’s rainy day fund to cover 2,100 additional emergency shelter beds and other services for those living unsheltered.
For the most part there is agreement on prioritizing homelessness, but not everyone agrees on how.
“I think the governor is right, moving folks from being unsheltered to being sheltered is very important,” said incoming House Speaker Laurie Jinkins at Thursday’s Associated Press legislative preview.
But Jinkins also believes a more comprehensive approach is needed.
“Our housing crisis, I think of it on a continuum – we have challenges with folks being unsheltered but once folks get into shelters then there’s not enough transitional housing, there’s not enough permanent supportive housing for folks who have behavioral health issues or substance issues, which we know having permanent supportive housing is key to folks saying housed,”Jinkins said.
Jinkins also is not sure the two-thirds majority vote required to pull money from the rainy day fund for this exists.
Republican Senator Mark Schoesler doesn’t believe it is or should be.
“If you look at the governor’s plan as I understand it you take one time money from the rainy day fund and you create ongoing costs – that is not sustainable, period,” Schoesler said, suggesting the first step should be a comprehensive audit on how

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