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Gov. Gregoire calls for special session

The State Legislature will be going into overtime, starting next week.

On Friday Governor Christine Gregoire officially called for a special session beginning 9 a.m. Tuesday to finish balancing the 2011-13 budget and eliminating a nearly $5 billion shortfall.

"There's more work to be done; we have not yet finished," she said.

The legislature began 2011 work Jan. 10 and the regular session ended Friday.

The House and Senate have passed competing budgets that will need to be sorted out during the session. The Senate's budget includes cuts of $4.8 billion versus a $4.4 billion reduction in the house.

Gregoire said at a press conference that the budget sessions could require as many as 60 pieces of legislation to pass, many of which will carry crucial policy debates on issues such as education and transportation.

The special session has been allotted 30 days, and whether or not the full time will be used remains unknown.

“I hope not," Gregoire said after being asked about the Legislature taking the full 30 days. "But never say never.”

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