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Government and Politics
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."

Government Shutdown? Prisons Would Stay Open, Much Of State Would Not

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Office of the Governor

Washington prisons would stay open, but much of the state would not if there’s a government shutdown. Governor Jay Inslee met with his cabinet Wednesday to begin contingency planning if there’s no budget by the end of the month. That’s the start of the new fiscal year.

“We’re not talking about opening the prison doors because there are clear federal mandates from the federal constitution and federal laws to provide for folks that are in our care and custody,” says Nick Brown, the Governor’s attorney.

But the Governor’s staff says most state services would cease on July 1 if there’s no budget. Medicaid payments would be delayed. And many state employees would be laid off – at least temporarily.

The Washington constitution is explicit: no money can be spent from the treasury without a budget. However, in certain cases federal law may trump that rule.

On the Web:

Contingency Planning for State Operations - Washington Office of Financial Management