Washington lawmakers reach budget agreement “in principle”

Washington state lawmakers say they have reached agreement “in principle” on a new two-year operating budget, but won’t release any details.

After budget negotiators met throughout the night, Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday released a statement about the agreement, saying that legislative leaders were confident they would have a vote on the budget before the end of the day Friday.  That would put them within hours of a deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.

The rest of the Legislature wasn’t expected to be briefed on details of the agreement until Thursday, and the public won’t see the information until after that occurs.

The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate have been struggling for months to find compromise on a budget that addresses a state Supreme Court mandate on education funding.

They are in the midst of a third overtime session, and if a new budget isn’t signed into law by midnight Friday, a partial shutdown starts July 1.

The closest the state has come to a partial shutdown was in 2015, when Inslee signed the budget at 11:40 p.m. on June 30.

Wednesday marked the 173rd day the Legislature has been in session this year.

Some 32,000 state employees have received notices temporary layoffs would start Saturday if a budget isn’t in place by Friday night.  (AP, Spokesman Review)

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