The Legislature OK’d a bipartisan two-year state budget Monday night in Olympia. Dan Frizzell reports after several months of work and several weeks of high drama, Washington lawmakers gave their stamp of approval to an operating budget that beefs up K-12 spending, lowers tuition at colleges and universities, and avoids a threatened government shutdown. Lawmakers are confident that the 38-billion-dollar spending plan will satisfy the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling to fund education, and the budget also makes key investments in mental healthcare, early learning, and teacher pay. Representative Ross Hunter of Bellevue, chief budget writer for the majority House Democrats, argued for passage on the House floor. “The measure of the work that we do here is not in line-item grants or in petty partisan victories, but in the number of lives made more whole, and by that measurement, this budget takes an important step in the right direction.”
Governor Jay Inslee has promised to sign the budget — which contains no new general tax hikes — Tuesday. And in case it’s not clear by now: With a shutdown averted, Washington state parks WILL be open for business on the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.