May 26, 2011

Legislature adjourns special session after passing budget, modified DES/CTS bill passed

The Legislature adjourned its special session at 10:26 p.m. Wednesday night after passing a recession-affected budget and an improved but not perfect bill creating the new Department of Enterprise Services and Consolidated Technology Services agency.
That bill, ESSB 5931, passed with collective bargaining intact but sacrificed competitive contracting. The measure passed the House 54-42 with two excused. The Senate concurred in changes made by the House on a vote of 31-13 with three excused.
The Senate followed House passage of the budget Tuesday night by concurring in the changes made by the House. The Senate vote on the budget bill, 2ESHB 1087, was 34-13 with two excused. There were no major changes from the version rolled out Tuesday. It honors our contracts and reforms service delivery for interpreters. But it includes downsizing, closures and contracting out.

Before we give you more details, you should know that your hard work mitigated the damage as the rush was on to cut to fill a $5 billion deficit. It could have been much worse. The fact it wasn’t is a credit to you. From the opening day to the final gavel, you were there with rallies, phone calls, e-mails, personal lobbying and a commitment to the people we serve that is second to none. You made it clear this fight was never about your personal comfort, it was about comforting and protecting those who otherwise would be steamrollered by this economy. You are this state’s heroes, our true champions.
Thanks to your intense pressure, the bill to end run our court victory against contracting out in the DSHS Children’s Administration, HB 2122, never came to a vote of the House and died.
Also not moving was SB 5669, the natural resources bill that no longer merged agencies, but made certain efficiencies.

And the Western State Hospital forensics bill, SB 5114, also did not move.
With pressure from the Senate and the Operating Budget (HB 1087) held hostage, the House rejected the friendly amendment made by the House Ways and Means Committee and adopted an amendment to ESSB 5931 from the floor offered by Rep. Zack Hudgins of the 11th District.
The bill as passed expressly prohibits state employees from competing for work historically performed by them in the newly formed Department of Enterprise Services (DES). Consolidated Technology Services will fall under DES.
The bill does retain collective bargaining rights for transferred DIS employees, with exemptions from civil service extended to employees who perform: systems integration; data center engineering and management; network systems engineering and management; IT contracting; IT customer relations management; and network and systems security. We estimate it to include about 115 employees.
Office of Financial Management and DES will examine up to six activities for possible contracting out. The requirement to conduct these examinations expires June 30, 2018. Activities contracted out prior to June 30, 2018, can continue to be contracted out after the expiration date.
CTS can contract for services and activities related to the data center and other activities approved by the Technology Services Board (TSB), which is created in the bill.
Changes to collective bargaining have been removed from the bill. OFM is authorized to create exempt positions in specific job classifications.
Any material printed by state agencies that contains personally identifiable information must be printed by DES or, if contracted out, must have a confidentiality agreement.
The auditor must conduct a performance audit of printing. That audit must be completed by November 2016.
The Technology Services Board (TSB) is created, which will authorize funding for major IT projects. The TSB will develop a policy to determine which projects will require an independent technical and financial review. The Chief Information Officer can spend up to $1 million each biennium on these independent reviews without an appropriation.
Full exemptions for CTS from the procurement and personal services contract requirements are removed. CTS does have some modified exemptions from the ?procurement rules, similar to current statutes related to DIS.
The Education Research and Data Center is transferred from OFM to the LEAP.
OFM must develop and submit a state technology budget. The budget must identify current baseline funding for IT, proposed and ongoing major IT projects, and their associated costs.
The state auditor will conduct a two part review of the data center by December 1, 2011.
The review may cover how decisions related to funding the data center were made and an analysis of the current implementation plan.

You should know that hundreds of calls and emails from members kept this bill in play until 6:30 this evening, just prior to the vote - and restored collective bargaining rights to transferred DIS employees.

The House passed and the Senate concurred on the residential habilitation centers (RHC) consolidation/closure bill. 2SSB 5459 closes Frances Haddon Morgan Center by Dec. 31, freezes admissions to Yakima Valley School and converts it to a SOLA when its population reaches 16 (two cottages will be converted to SOLAs). It retains the permanent status of the other RHCs: Lakeland Village, Fircrest School and Rainier School. The House vote was 63-33 with two excused. The Senate vote agreeing with the House version was 32-13 with four excused.

A small group of senators fought to the bitter end. Sen. Pam Roach of the 31st District said the bill was “part of the effort to close all of our residential habilitation centers.”

The bill “takes away options for families and that’s not right,” she said.


The Senate Wednesday morning passed the DOC bill with the good Probst amendment passed by the House Tuesday night. The Senate vote on ESSB 5891 was 26-20 with three excused.

• The Senate also passed ESSB 5860, the bill backing our negotiated contract provisions with the temporary 3 percent pay cuts and, as with UW and WSU, allowing colleges and universities the flexibility to find the 3 percent savings in other ways. It prohibits pay raises for WMS or EMS workers. The vote was 36-10 with three excused. The House concurred with changes made by the Senate on a vote of 72-24 with two excused.

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