OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says he is confident that a budget deal is imminent.
Inslee said Monday afternoon that he has seen "very significant breakthroughs" in recent budget talks. He says lawmakers should be able to reach a final agreement very quickly.
Inslee's upbeat tone came as state agencies were working to notify thousands of government workers that they may be temporarily laid off starting next week if no budget deal comes together.
Washington's current two-year budget comes to a close at the end of June. Lawmakers have been struggling for several weeks to reach compromise on how to spend government dollars in the coming two years.
The agency that many in law enforcement are most concerned with is the Department of Corrections. Without a budget, DOC officials will have to put an end to supervised parole. It would also render GPS tracking program for registered sex offenders ineffective. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says we could even see cuts in programs that notify a victim when their offender is released from jail.
See the DOC's Worst Case Scenario Below, and CLICK HERE to see contigency plans for all Washington state agencies.
**FROM DOC PRISONS DIRECTOR DAN PACHOLKE**
On June 20, 2013,
Secretary Warner shared contingency
planning information with all staff. His message explained how
DOC will be affected if the government were to shutdown pending an approved
budget. This is the agency's high
level contingency plan in the event of a government shutdown.
Although, I continue to remain optimistic that we will have an approved budget
by July 1, 2013, it has become necessary to prepare for the alternative.
We are obligated by
the U.S. Constitution to provide a certain level of care for offenders around
food, religion, legal and mail access, grievance process, and medical care. The
responsibility to provide some level of these services is not taken lightly. It
also allows us to keep the majority of our custody staff and some non-custody
staff employed in the event of a government shutdown.
Prisons Division is
rich with employees who are both resilient and dedicated. Just the act of
preparing for a government shutdown is hard. There is certain ugliness to
having to go through lists of positions and label them essential or
non-essential. Please understand that the measure for determining essential was
limited to those positions or services obligated by the U.S. Constitution. Much
of the very best work done by our division is not through obligation but because
it helps us fulfill DOC's mission of working together for safe communities. All
of the work done in Prisons plays an integral role to ensure we operate safe
prisons. It also makes this assignment especially difficult.
As of today
contingency planning for Prisons includes:
- Identifying employees to be temporarily laid off
- Developing Incident Action Plans for restricted
- Developing Emergency Management strategies for
- Developing communication strategies for internal
and external stakeholders
We will continue this
planning and preparing for implementation until we receive notification that a
budget has been passed. Please continue to work and communicate with each
other. I will keep you informed and make operational adjustments as necessary
to manage prisons throughout this budget crisis. It is my goal to resume normal
operations as soon as financially possible.