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June
29th

UDATE: Lawmakers pass $3.6 billion capital-construction budget and adjourn; $82M for possible new Olympia office building in mix

UPDATE: Gov. Jay Inslee signed the capital budget bills into law Monday.

ORIGINAL POST: The state House and Senate passed a $3.6 billion capital-construction budget on lopsided votes Saturday and lawmakers – who were running on fumes after 153 days – adjourned their special session at 6:08 p.m. Lawmakers had passed an operating budget Friday evening to avert a government shutdown, which loomed Monday if the Legislature had failed to pass a budget authorizing spending after  July 1.

Gov. Jay Inslee plans to sign the two-year operating budget at 4 p.m. Sunday along with a few other policy bills.

Republican Sen. Bruce

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June
27th

UPDATE – Budget deal to use ‘pilot projects’ to let some part time employees get healthcare via Obamacare exchange

Senate Ways and Means chairman Andy Hill says the handshake budget agreement reached with the House negotiators at 10:40 a.m. Thursday does not force part time state or K-12 employees into the Obamacare health exchange to get their health coverage.  Instead, the goal is to try pilot projects that a limited number of unions could opt to consider, Hill said.

The Republican budget writer spoke shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the budget agreement in a minute-long press conference.

Labor unions including the Washington Federation of State Employees had been strongly opposed to any mandatory push that created a two-tier

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June
27th

UPDATE – Inslee: There’s a deal to avert government shutdown

Gov. Jay Inslee held a brief press conference this morning to announce a budget deal has been reached and a state-government shutdown is averted on Monday. The Democrat hopes the Senate and House send him the agreement for signing by 5 p.m. Friday and he said government operations will continue Monday as normal.

Inslee refused to take questions during the brief press conference at which he was joined by Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, House Speaker Frank Chopp, ranking House Republican budget writer Gary Alexander and others.

The governor’s statement is here:

“I am happy

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June
26th

UPDATE – Lawmakers still high-centered on budget, fish rules; Boeing explains its interest

A request by Boeing and Senate Republicans for additional research into fish-consumption risks is one of several smaller issues still holding up the Legislature’s quest to finish an operating budget deal Wednesday. The Republican-led Senate announced a deal was in place and both House Speaker Frank Chopp and spokesmen for Gov. Jay Inslee said that announcement was premature because negotiations were ongoing.

In the meantime, talks continued on the fish-standards issue that reared its head fairly late in the budget talks. Boeing wants more study before the Department of Ecology adopts higher fish-consumption standards. Inslee’s budget team and House

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June
26th

State senate GOP-led coalition says budget deal has been reached; House Dems say not yet

UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: Another player joins the “no deal” team. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee says the governor’s office has not heard any word of a budget agreement being reached. Here’s the statement just sent out by Inslee spokesman David Postman:

I understand that the Senate majority has announced that there is a budget agreement.  No one has reported to the governor or his budget director that there is an agreement. And, in fact, the House has told us that it is still negotiating with the Senate at this hour. We believe we are close,

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June
24th

State workers in ‘wait-and-see’ mode as layoff warnings go out

As state employees began receiving notices Monday that they could be furloughed starting July 1, worry and uncertainty prevailed at many offices.

Some state workers remained optimistic that lawmakers would pass a budget in time to avoid any temporary layoffs, while others expressed frustration that the Legislature, which is in the middle of a second 30-day overtime session to finalize a two-year spending plan, still hadn’t completed its work.

Should lawmakers fail to pass a budget before June 30, a government shutdown will begin July 1, completely closing 34 state offices and partially shutting down 24 others, state officials said last

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June
24th

Temporary layoff notices to begin going out to state workers

The Governor’s budget office has just sent out a memorandum informing state agency heads to begin issuing temporary layoff notices to their employees in case there is a government shutdown next week.

The Legislature is on a deadline to pass a budget by June 30 to avert closure of many state offices July 1, the start of the next budget cycle.

Here is the text of the memo, which was sent on behalf of David Schumacher, director of the state’s Office of Financial Management:

I am sorry to report that, as of this afternoon, the Legislature has not yet reached

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June
23rd

UPDATE – No budget deal in sight; Inslee’s team waiting to Monday for decision on sending layoff notices to thousands of workers

UPDATE: Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget office won’t make its final decision on sending out temporary layoff notices to thousands of state government workers until morning – giving lawmakers a bit more time to forge a late-night or early morning budget agreement.

“A decision likely wouldn’t come until tomorrow,” spokesman Ralph Thomas of the Office of Financial Management said early Sunday evening. “We’re still waiting to see if they get a deal tonight.’’

ORIGINAL POST: Budget negotiators for the Republican-steered Senate and Democrat-controlled House were trading offers and deliberating behind closed doors in Olympia Sunday afternoon in search of a budget deal

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