By Jerry Cornfield
Washington lawmakers are aiming to deliver a new two-year state budget to Gov. Jay Inslee by 5 p.m. today.
Don’t be surprised if they are late by a couple minutes, or even hours, given their track record of meeting deadlines this year.
Senators are going to vote on the 482-page document first then run it over to the House for action.
There are a ton of less-publicized items which are extremely important to people around the state. Here are a few nuggets unearthed by the AP’s Mike Baker:
-The Geoduck Harvest Safety Committee is created to submit recommendations that may establish a safety program for divers seeking the mollusks native to the Pacific Northwest. Total cost: $265,000.
-The University of Washington will receive $7 million to create a Clean Energy Institute and a Center on Ocean Acidification in order to conduct research on their namesake issues. Such environmental matters have been a focus of Gov. Jay Inslee.
-$50,000 is provided to conduct a cost and impact study of Covington Town Center. That’s the home city of House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan.
-Wolf conflict: The Legislature gives $600,000 to a Washington State University program so that it can conduct public outreach on non-lethal ways of limiting conflict between livestock and wild carnivores.
-The governor’s office would get a new director of military affairs, at a total cost of $300,000. The person would help the governor’s office coordinate with state agencies and local communities on military issues. The state already has an adjutant general of the Military Department that oversees the National Guard and emergency response matters.
-State employees who use state health insurance will be charged $25 a month if they smoke. They will be charged an additional $50 a month if the state worker’s spouse is on the government plan when another employer plan is available to them.