April 15, 2011

Senate committee budget vote Friday afternoon; floor vote possible over the weekend

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on their budget proposal sometime Friday afternoon. A floor vote is expected over the weekend.

We have a general call to action, but want you to add in your specific message from your area. We do want to add two issues to the previous list:

Ok here goes:

Call legislators at 1-800-562-6000 and urge the following in their budget plan, ESHB 1087.

• Fund state contracts.
• Protect workers and clients from institutional closures.
• Retain funding for medical interpreters required by Medicaid patients whose first language is not English.
• Preserve early retirement incentives for state employees.
• Support user fees necessary to retain critical natural resource agencies.
• Support public safety in Corrections, Fish and Wildlife and other agencies.
• Reject the plan to privatize all of Child Welfare Services.
• Support the Senate Democrats’ package to close tax loopholes.

And here are the two new specific calls unique to the Senate budget:

• Oppose closure of the additional admissions ward at Western State Hospital. This is where experts evaluate criminal defendants’ mental competency to stand trial. And we know from recent incidents in the news – and the closure of the PALS program – this cut threatens public safety. We shouldn’t assume that local jails will take over the evaluation of these patients.

• Oppose contracting out of the motor pool in the Department of General Administration. The Senate budget mandates that the proposed new Department of Enterprise Services would swallow up GA and contract out the motor pool fleet management now done by about 20 Federation members. Beyond that, the contracting out would affect all Federation members who drive state vehicles for state business. Contracting out the GA motor pool is pennywise and pound foolish – and exempts from showing savings and competition. Please oppose it!

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