OLYMPIA – The House Appropriations committee will have a public hearing on Monday, January 26 to discuss an early action supplemental operating budget proposal. The bill deals with a small handful of items that need immediate attention. The committee expects to adopt a more typical supplemental budget later in the session.
Issues addressed in the bill are limited to the following:
- Mental health: More mental health treatment capacity is created to resolve the emergency room boarding lawsuit and an expected court order requiring more evaluation and treatment capacity to take pressure off local jails.
- Natural disasters: Eastern Washington wildfires, the Oso landslide, and other natural disasters had a larger impact on the state budget than what was originally allocated.
- Homecare shared living lawsuit: The state lost a lawsuit with in-home care workers in the spring of last year. Interest on the judgment is accruing at $20,000 a day. This bill appropriates the money to pay the debt.
- Children services: Child abuse caseloads have been significantly larger than expected and funds are allocated to help resolve cases as quickly as possible.
Statement from Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina):
“It’s a little unusual to do a supplemental budget this early in a legislative session, but last year was an unusual year. The wildfires and Oso landslide took a large toll on our budget. We also need to pay our legal bills and to address critical funding shortages in mental health and foster care services. I’m pleased that we have come to agreement on these issues this early in session.”
Statement from Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger):
“Addressing these costs early on in the session will save the taxpayers money and will get relief to the people who have been harmed by the Oso landslide and the wildfires. This is a constructive beginning as we work towards the creation and implementation of the next two-year operating budget in a timely manner. I’m optimistic that this budget will receive thoughtful consideration from the Senate.”