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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Time Is Nearly Up For Washington Budget Deal

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Washington’s overtime legislative session ends at midnight on Tuesday. But there’s still no agreement on a state budget for the next two years.

Over the weekend, the mostly Republican senate majority passed a revised version of its own spending plan, along with a trio of controversial policy measures.

The three policy bills are not new, the Senate passed them during the regular session. The difference is two of them now have referendum clauses, meaning voters would get the final say.

One would cap non-education state spending, the other would give school principals veto power if a teacher is assigned to their building. The third measure which would not go to voters would lower the age of eligibility for permanently injured workers to take a lump sum compensation settlement instead of receive pension payments.

The Senate says if House Democrats and the governor go along with these policy changes, it will accept some tax-related components in the final budget. But so far Democrats seem underwhelmed by that offer.]

If lawmakers don’t finish their work by the 30-day deadline, Governor Jay Inslee says he’s prepared to immediately call a second special session.

On the Web:

SB 5127: Lump sum compensation eligibility - Washington Legislature
SB 5242: Veto power for principals - Washington Legislature
House Democrats budget proposal - Washington House 
Senate Majority Caucus budget proposal - Washington Senate
Gov. Inslee's budget priorities - Office of the Governor

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."