Wash. lawmakers labor on fine details of agreement



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Chris Gregoire and top lawmakers are striving for a final agreement that would end months of stagnation in the state Legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press that leaders and budget negotiators had agreed on the framework of a final deal. But Democratic Sen. Jim Kastama says the fine points of that broad agreement remained in flux late Monday.

Monday’s flurry of meetings caps months of fruitless negotiations over how to close a roughly half-billion-dollar shortfall for the two-year budget cycle ending June 2013. A Republican-led coalition in the Senate will not take up the budget until lawmakers approve a series of policy changes in state government.

Kastama says that coalition wants to make sure their overhauls are actually worthwhile.