Washington Senate passes first draft of budget plan

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Senate has passed its two-year budget spending proposal that lawmakers said focuses on helping those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The budget passed the Democratic-led chamber on a 27-22 vote. The House, also led by Democrats, is expected to vote on its own similar plan Saturday. A final plan will then be negotiated and passed before the end of the 105-day legislative session April 25. Democratic budget leaders said that the approximately $59 billion spending plan responds to the needs that the pandemic highlighted, and includes millions for the state’s public health system, child care and early learning and efforts on affordable housing and efforts to reduce homelessness.