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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."

26,000 Washington Employees Receive Temporary Layoff Warnings

The state of Washington has sent email alerts to 26,000 state employees notifying them of temporary layoff.

The notifications went out Tuesday because union contracts require seven-day notice of a possible layoff. July 1 is the day state government will partially shut down if there’s no budget.

The emergency notices tell state employees to stay home and not do any work.

This is déjà vu for Washington state workers. Similar notices went out two years ago when lawmakers couldn’t find agreement on a budget. But that ended up being a fire drill. A budget deal was reached on June 27 and the governor signed the budget on June 30, averting a shutdown.

Fewer than half the state’s 60,000 general government employees face layoff. That’s because many functions of state government are mandated by law, the constitution or contract to continue even in the event of a shutdown.

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."