Wash. Governor Signs Law Ordering State Furloughs

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It will be lights out at the Washington governor's office, drivers' license offices and other state agencies on Monday, July 12th. That's because of legislation signed [today] Tuesday by Governor Chris Gregoire. But under the new furlough law, many other Washington state services will remain open that day. The legislation requires a series of furloughs, but also includes many exceptions. At the least, Gregoire hopes state employees and their unions agree to take the same day off each month.

Chris Gregoire: “Really what we should do is we should all do it at the same time. And the reason for that is better to allow the public to know on a date certain, the state will not be open as opposed to downsizing catch as catch can depending upon the employee and when they might want to take it.”

The new law gives state agencies the option of avoiding furloughs if they can come up with the same cost-savings a different way. The goal is to trim $45 million by the end of the current two-year budget cycle. But about 80 percent of state workers are exempt from the furlough requirement including state troopers, corrections officers and public health workers.