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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."

Washington Legislature Preparing For Government Shutdown

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Austin Jenkins
/
Northwest News Network
Washington legislative administrators will meet Wednesday to discuss contingency options in the event of a government shutdown on July 1.

It’s not just Washington state agencies that are preparing for a possible government shutdown on July 1. Washington House and Senate administrators will meet Wednesday to discuss contingency planning.

For the state legislature it’s a catch-22. If the government shuts down, employees are told to stay home and not work. But in order to restart government, lawmakers and their staff would have to keep showing up to get a budget deal.

So, how would that work? That’s the question as the clock runs out on the fiscal year with still no budget agreement. House Majority Leader, Democrat Pat Sullivan, called it a “difficult situation.”

“Our hope has always been and continues to be that we just get the work done and these exercises don’t have to amount to anything,” he said.

In an all-staff email this week, House administrators expressed confidence the impasse will end, but outlined the options if there is a shutdown. They include sending everyone home without pay except those “absolutely necessary” to prepare a budget.

Similar options were outlined in 2013. But it didn’t come to that. Lawmakers and the governor announced a budget deal on June 27 that year -- just in time to avert a shutdown.