February 23, 2010


2/23/10 2 p.m.

    This is a special update of the Federation Hotline at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.


    The state House majority Democrats by just three hours followed the Senate and unveiled its version of the budget (HB 2824).

    Many of the details on revenue, tax loopholes and state employee health care will follow.

    The House plan would cut another 692 state employees, for a two-year total of nearly 3,700 layoffs.

    As with the Senate, here is a quick summary based on a quick review. [for comparison, what the Senate proposed earlier today will be in brackets].

    Hearings on both the House budget plan (HB 2824) and the Senate plan (SB 6444) take place Tuesday afternoon and evening. Expect changes before a final plan is agreed to.

Health care: The House will look at a number of options, but they appear to be close to the Senate, that is charging you more rather than reinstating the $200 million-plus legislators diverted from your benefits fund in 2008. House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Kelli Linville said the state employee health care system has to change, saying “We have to redo our system.”
[The Senate plan puts some money into your plan, but still foresees a $200 million deficit, largely caused by their diversion of those funds in 2008. So if this prevails, we would see skyrocketing costs.]

Furloughs: The House plan assumes passage of SSB 6503 to achieve $48.2 million in savings through voluntary and mandatory layoffs, with the default of 11 furlough days.
[The Senate plan calls for $49.4 million in savings based on the provisions of SSB 6503, which calls for voluntary and mandatory furloughs, which now stands at a default of 11 furlough days between June 2010 and June 2011 if agencies can’t find other compensation adjustments.]

The House will raise $857 in revenue, with details to come Wednesday.
[The Senate raises $313 million from a three-tenths of a penny increase in the sales tax, $86 million through a $1 a pack increase in taxes on cigarettes and $518 million through closing tax loopholes.]

Natural resources:
The House does not merge natural resources agencies. However, Linville said she was “very interested” in the Senate plan to merge three natural resources agencies.
[The Senate merges the Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which achieves only about $11 million in savings. This is a pet project of Sen. Rodney Tom, vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.]

Residential Habilitation Centers:
The House plan does not close RHCs, but does downsize institutions through cottage consolidations and the like.
[Close Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton. Sen. Margarita Prentice, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, used the example of her autistic son to say FHMC had outlived its usefulness. Rainier School and other RHCs would be spared for now, but Prentice said the Democrats are still “tussling” over which others to close. So this is not the last we’ve heard of this.]

Juvenile Rehabilitation:
The House plan does not close any JRA facilities, but it would reduce Naselle Youth Camp to 50 beds, cutting 25.1 positions, and cut 43.2 positions at other institutions.
[The Senate plan would close Maple Lane School in south Thurston County.]

Corrections: The House would close both Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women in Medical Lake and Ahtanum View Corrections Center in Yakima.
[In the Senate plan, Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women would be cut to 86 beds “to allow the Department to evaluate options for housing female offenders from eastern Washington.”]

PALS/Mental Health: The House saves the Program for Adaptive Living Skills at Western State Hospital, but  cuts 51.7 positions at WSH, Eastern State Hospital and the Child Study and Treatment Center.
[It’s unclear if the Senate budget closes the Program for Adaptive Living Skills at Western State Hospital, but the plan cuts funding for the Western Washington Regional Support Networks to purchase services at PALS by 19 percent.]

Interpreters: As with the Senate, the House budget appears to retain funding for the Medicaid provider interpreter services.
[It appears the Senate budget restores funding for the Medicaid provider interpreter services.]

Higher Education: The House plan restores the Basic Needs Grants to cover the same number of students, but with lower dollar amounts for each grant. The House also cuts the University of Washington by 4 percent, other four-year institutions by 3 percent and the community and technical colleges by 2.2 percent.
[The Senate plan cuts 6 percent from colleges and universities—on top of any cuts from furloughs, layoffs and other compensation reductions.]

Information Technology:
The House plan assumes passage of HB 3178 that consolidates IT functions, and opens the door to contracting out those services.

    Again, budget hearings take place this afternoon and evening.


    The House Commerce and Labor Committee Tuesday morning passed out ESSB 6726, the bill granting DSHS Medicaid interpreters collective bargaining rights and creates a workgroup to look at wider reforms, including possibly ending the current money-sapping system of middleman brokers. The committee defeated an attempt to strip the bill of the collective bargaining rights. ESSB 6726 passed the committee 5-3. It now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it has until March 1 to pass.


Call 1-800-562-6000. Tell your legislators:

• STOP HEALTH CUTS! Tell them to do the right thing. Restore the $300 million in state employee health insurance funds to the two budget bills, HB 2824 and SB 6444. They created the problem when they underfunded your health plan in 2008. Tell them that only half of that needs to be state funds—the rest would be from federal and other funds. Both Senate and House budgets come out Tuesday.

• RAISE REVENUE! The Senate on Monday concurred with House amendments to ESSB 6130 to amend I-960 and allow majority rule on revenue issues. It now goes to the governor for her signature into law. Call 1-800-562-6000 to urge the governor to sign ESSB 6130.

• CLOSE TAX LOOPHOLES! SUPPORT HB 3176 to close tax loopholes. It will recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

• OPPOSE FURLOUGHS! OPPOSE SSB 6503, the state employee furlough bill. Its unintended consequences will cost more, not less.

• PASS INTERPRETERS’ COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BILL, ESSB 6726. Give state Medicaid interpreters a voice on economics and workplace issues and a seat at the table on a reform-oriented work group. It passed the House Commerce and Labor Committee Tuesday and now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee.

• SUPPORT THE SIGNATURE GATHERER ACCOUNTABILITY BILL, ESSB 6449. It’s needed to keep our initiative process free of fraud and forgery. It’s scheduled for a key committee vote Tuesday.


    The Revenue Coalition holds town hall meetings with legislators this week in three cities:

Today, Tuesday, Feb. 23, in Vancouver (17th and 49th Districts), 6:30-8 p.m., Marshall Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98663.

Tomorrow Wednesday, Feb. 24, in Everett (38th and 44th Districts), 6:30-8:30 p.m., Weyerhaeuser Room, Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave., Everett, WA  98201.

And Thursday, Feb. 25, in Bellingham (40th and 42nd Districts), 6:30-7:30 p.m., Bellingham Senior Activity Center, 315 Halleck St., Bellingham, WA  98225.


    Corrections members have an opportunity to shape their future on a number of issues at the Federation’s DOC Summit

When: Saturday, March 20, 2010, 10 AM - 4:00 PM
Where:    SeaTac Doubletree Hotel                     
Who:           This summit is open to the first 200 DOC members who register.
Registration deadline:      March 1, 2010
The goal of the summit is to gather a diverse group of DOC members from as many field offices, institutions, and represented job classifications as possible to help shape our future. 
The summit will include:
An open conversation about what we’ve learned this past year and where we are headed now as a union. 
AFSCME staff from “the other Washington” will share Corrections and Law Enforcement presentations from other parts of the country.
Lunch will be provided only for members who register prior to the March 1st deadline.  WFSE will reimburse registered members’ travel expenses. Carpooling is encouraged.
PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE at WFSE.org > DOC Summit. Look for the DOC Summit icon in the upper right corner of the webpage. Questions? Contact Pam Herrick at 800-562-6002 or pamh@wfse.org.

    That’s it for now. Call Wednesday for the next message.


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