Governor vetos little in operating and capital budgets

Thank you Steve DuPont for poring through the governor’s veto messages on the state two-year budgets. Yesterday the governor addressed both. She has the power to veto an entire bill or sections of bills, but not a line or two. If she doesn’t act on a bill that the legislature approved, the bill becomes law without her signature.

So let’s have a look at the damage done Wednesday:

2011-13 Operating Budget Vetoes

1. ) Washington State Quality Awards which recognizes and encourages “organizational excellence.” RCW 43.17.390 requires CWU to apply to WSQA every three years.

Here’s what the gov vetoed in this program:

  • Sec. 129(8) provided $100,000 to OFM to contract with WSQA to provide training and outreach to agencies
  • Sec. 129(9) required GMAP to work with the WSQA on a plan to have all state agencies apply for the WSQA by June 30, 2013 and for all agencies to achieve a score of at least 60% by 2020
  • Sec. 129(10) required the priorities of government program to include WSQA scores for agencies in their report
  • Sec. 925(1) required agencies to track and report employees trained in performance management
  • Sec. 925(2) required agencies to report WSQA scores to JLARC, OSA, and GMAP and for GMAP to publish scores on its webpage
  • Sec. 925(3) required agencies to integrate performance management and WSQA into agency strategic plans.

Salary Increases from non-state funds, permitted by section 601(6)(c) of the bill.

State Need Grant Awards at Private Institutions – the governor vetoed the section [Sec. 613(2)(b)] that would have reduced the maximum SNG award to students attending private institutions to the same level as students attending a public comprehensive university. Now the limit is set at the most expensive research institution tuition rate.

Elimination of Management Positions – The governor vetoed two sections of the budget that affected managers and exempt employees. One section said if their positions were eliminated and they assumed a new position, it could not pay more than what the position historically paid. That is, they couldn’t take a higher salary to a lower-paying position.

The other section would have prevented managers and exempt employees to revert to classified positions unless they had held that position within the previous three years

That’s pretty much it for the operating budget. Pretty exciting, huh?

What about the capital budgets? Just one veto that affected us – a veto to correct a technical error. HB 1497 is the capital budget that deals with cash appropriations rather than bonds. They accidentally gave us money for upgrading utilities from the wrong account. Sec. 5028 of HB 1497 appropriates $273,000 from the state building construction account instead of the Central Washington University Capital Projects Account.

WAKE UP! This is good stuff! I was hoping for someone to introduce a bill to designate a State Rock or the State Coffee, or the State….something. No such luck. All I have is actual budget language and meaningful legislation. Dang.

Such has not always been the case. Please see this list of bills that passed in more lighthearted (or weirder) times.



About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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