by: Essex Porter Updated:
OLYMPIA, Wash. - In an unprecedented order, all nine justices of the Washington state Supreme Court held state lawmakers in contempt for failing to fully fund K-12 education.
Earlier this year, the Legislature missed a deadline.
“The court unanimously finds the (Legislature) in contempt," the court wrote in the contempt finding it released today.
But the justices also decided to put any punishment on hold, until the end of the 2015 Legislature to give the Legislature the time members asked for.
"If the contempt is not purged by the adjournment of the 2015 legislature, the court will reconvene and impose sanctions or other remedial measures," wrote the court.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit was pleased with the decision.
“We know the opportunity, we know the urgency, we know the obligation,” said Chris Korsmo “Let's give the state the opportunity to make good on their word to do something this session.”
When it comes to sanctions, the court could fine lawmakers, stop other state spending or invalidate hundreds of corporate tax breaks to raise money for education -- if the Legislature doesn’t act next year.
“I think giving us the 2015 session, first of all I think we're going to take the appropriate action there,” said Puyallup Republican Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair of the K-12 education committee.