- Associated Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Highlights of the $43.7 billion, two-year budget Washington state lawmakers are set to vote on Friday:

-K-12 EDUCATION: $1.8 billion in additional spending for public schools, including $618 million for employee compensation, over the next two years.

-HIGHER EDUCATION: Provides $50 million for the state need grant over the next two years and $14.7 million for the state match for the opportunity scholarship. It also spends $15 million for medical education at Washington State University and the University of Washington.

-MENTAL HEALTH: Spends $60 million to cover overspending at the state psychiatric hospitals and to make changes based on an agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. An additional $26.7 million is provided for community mental health investments including crisis centers, community long-term inpatient beds, and clubhouses. More than $17 million goes to increase community placement beds to divert and discharge patients from the state psychiatric hospitals.

-STATE WORKERS: State employee union contracts are funded at a cost of $618 million.

-PUBLIC SAFETY: Allocates $3.2 million to the Department of Corrections to allow hiring of additional records staff and make IT system improvements in response to the erroneous early release of prisoners that occurred in 2016. Spends an additional $2.5 million to implement new law that makes fourth DUI a felony.

-HOMELESSNESS: Spends $8.9 million on housing and homeless services, including housing and services for homeless youth and individuals with a history of mental illness.

-HEALTH CARE: The budget includes $739.6 million over 2 years from the Medicaid waiver. The budget also includes $40.9 million for Hepatitis C treatment costs for Medicaid clients with less severe liver disease, and spends $5.6 million to extend coverage for high risk, non-Medicare individuals through the Washington State Health Insurance Pool through December 2022.

-PUBLIC HEALTH: About $15 million in federal and local funding authority is provided for programs and services for people with HIV, $12 million is spent to implement strategies that control the spread of communicable disease, chronic disease, and other health threats. An additional $3 million is spent to test water fixtures in schools across the state for the presence of lead.

-NEW AGENCY: More than $6 million is provided for the administrative costs associated with creating the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Starting in fiscal year 2019, the Children’s Administration and the Department of Early Learning will be consolidated into the new agency.

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