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Washington state agencies closed Feb. 22 for temporary layoff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 17, 2011

OLYMPIA - The next widespread shutdown of state agencies as a result of budget shortfalls will take place Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.

In April 2010, the state Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6503. Designed to reduce state government spending for employees, the law requires that state agencies close on the 10 days specified in the bill or submit an alternate compensation reduction plan for approval by the Office of Financial Management.

The following agencies, boards and commissions will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 22:

The law specifies exemptions to allow certain public safety, public health and revenue-generation activities to continue. Services provided by child protection workers, community corrections officers, emergency public health and patient safety workers, and State Patrol will be in full operation. The legislation exempts the Office of the Governor and Office of Financial Management from temporary layoffs during the legislative session.

In addition, institutions of higher education were required by law to submit compensation reduction plans to avoid office closures. Most offices headed by separately elected officials (Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Auditor, Attorney General and Commissioner of Public Lands) also submitted compensation reduction plans. However, most state agencies are scheduled to close their offices on the dates specified.

The closures will save more than $70 million in all funds in 2010–11. The temporary layoff law was passed as part of a series of measures to address an almost $12 billion shortfall during the 2009–11 budget period.

For more information on state agency closures, visit http://ofm.wa.gov/layoff/.

Note: State offices will also be closed Monday, Feb. 21, for Presidents’ Day.

Contact: Ralph Thomas, 360-902-7607