A bill merging several state government agencies into a new Department of Enterprise Services sailed through the Democrat-controlled Senate this afternoon. Nine Democrats crossed over to join minority Republicans to pass a measure denounced by the largest state employee union.
The final vote to pass Senate Bill 5931 was 29-to-18. As we reported in this story today, House Democrats are leery of changes proposed by Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane to require a yearly review of six state functions with an eye toward farming out the work to private sector contractors.
The bill also drops a requirement previously important to the GOP in its negotiations for a bipartisan Senate budget, and that is the privatizing of the state Office of the State Printer.