Local Politics

Wash. Senate approves state budget; House next

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington state Senate has approved a new state budget, moving quickly to avert a government shutdown.

Senators voted 44-4 on Friday afternoon to approve the $33.6 billion spending plan, just hours after making the 483-page bill available for public review. The measure now goes to the state House, which is expected to take up the bill immediately.

Lawmakers had hoped to approve the budget before the end of the day, so that state workers leaving for the weekend will know that their jobs will still be there on Monday morning. Much of state government would be shut down if the spending plan hasn't been completed by the end of the weekend.

Both Republicans and Democrats highlighted how the measure would add $1 billion to the state's education system while providing enough money to universities that tuition would remain at current levels.