Government Shutdown? Prisons Would Stay Open, Much Of State Would Not

By Austin Jenkins

Washington prisons would stay open, but much of the state would not if there’s a government shutdown. Governor Jay Inslee met with his cabinet Wednesday to begin contingency planning if there’s no budget by the end of the month. That’s the start of the new fiscal year. Nick Brown is the Governor’s attorney.

Nick Brown: “We’re not talking about opening the prison doors because there are clear federal mandates from the federal constitution and federal laws to provide for folks that are in our care and custody.”

But the Governor’s staff says most state services would cease on July 1st if there’s no budget. Medicaid payments would be delayed. And many state employees would be laid off – at least temporarily. The Washington constitution is explicit: no money can be spent from the treasury without a budget. However, in certain cases federal law may trump that rule.

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