SPOKANE, Wash. -- Washington state lawmakers are down to the wire as the deadline to pass a biennial operating budget at midnight Friday creeps closer and closer.
On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee asked state parks to remain open through Friday as legislators are confident in passing a budget. But if the government does shutdown what happens to all the other state agencies?
Ralph Thomas with the Office of Financial Management said state agencies that continue working during a shutdown are not considered "essential services" but rather these are agencies that have enough funding to keep the program running.
The OFM leader said of the 48 state agencies, seven will not shut down, 16 will completely shut down and 26 will partially shut down. Among the 26 is the Department of Natural resources and two critical public safety agencies, the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Corrections.
The OFM works with agencies to create contingency plans in the event an operating budget doesn't pass before the deadline. At the DOC, the temporary plan is to lay off 3,400 employees and estimated 5,100 employees will remain on the job to run state prisons and perform other roles required by state and federal law. Due to this temporary lack of staff, individuals sentenced to prison after July 1 would remain in county jail during the shutdown. There will also be limited response to GPS tracking alerts for sex offenders instead of the usual 24 hour coverage.
As for State Patrol, Trooper Jeff Sevigney said if the government shuts down, commissioned officers will still be out patrolling the highways.
KREM 2 can verify that funding, along with state and federal law, are what determines which state agency continues its operations during a shutdown. We can also confirm if the government shuts down, there will still be employees running state prisons and troopers will still be on patrol.
- Ralph Thomas with the Office of Financial Management
- Washington State Trooper Jeff Sevigney
- Impacts of partial state government shutdown
- Contingency planning for state agency operations
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