OLYMPIA—It's supposed to be a Special Legislative Session.
But it looks like a lot more of the same government gridlock.
There's still no budget in Olympia, but they could be getting closer to a plan.
And they'd better move quick. State law says they've got to be done by Tuesday.
You wouldn't know it just by walking the halls of the state capitol.
On the floor of the House and the Senate, you could almost hear crickets chirping.
Caucus and meeting rooms were dark and empty.
Frustrated business owners who showed up looking for some face time with lawmakers couldn't find a face to which they could vent.
"We're here rolling up our sleeves to work and then the senators aren't here," said Tim Martin of Harbor Pacific Bottling. "They cancelled. They didn't want to meet us. I don't know why."
The snail-like place of this Special Session has just about everyone fed up. Even the governor.
"i'm tired. I want them to go home," says Governor Christine Gregoire.
All week, they've been talking about a "go home" proposal: a compromise bill that nobody really likes but they might be able to stomach. It includes new taxes on service businesses and tax hikes on candy, soda, bottled water and even beer.
"At some point you have to say you don't always get what you want," says Rep. Steven Conway (D) 29th Dist., "but you get what you need."
Leaders say there is a lot of work going on, whether you can see it or not.
"Mostly we're doing detail work," said Rep. Ross Hunter (D) 48th Dist. "It's pointless to have everyone else here."
While the legislators have those closed door meetings, we wondered what would happen if they don't finish? What if there's no budget by Tuesday?
"The alternative is we're done. We go home and I impose 20% cuts across the board," says Governor Gregoire, "and that isn't acceptable to anyone."
But she is willing to do it.
"I learned my lesson. I'm not calling a Special Session and have everbody sit around," she said.
"Obviously it's frustrating. We're going to get our message out," says Martin. "One way or another, we're coming back here tomorrow, because we understand they'll be here tomorrow."
They hope they'll be there tomorrow.
They thought they'd be there today, too.
The legislature is set to convene tomorrow at 2 p.m.
There's talk they'll work through the rest of the weekend and at night if that's what it takes to find a compromise.
Either way, Tuesday is coming fast.