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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

November 8, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Long-term care initiative passes

State voters have approved an initiative mandating more training for long-term care workers.

Initiative 1163, backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), would require the state to increase spending to pay for more rigorous background checks as well as extended training and certification of long-term-care workers.

SEIU raised around $1.7 million for the proposal, which would require $32 million in new spending at a time when the state is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall. The additional training costs would be partially offset by federal matching dollars and new fees.

Opponents of the measure say the state can’t afford the increased costs. But SEIU maintains that additional training for long-term-care workers is a high enough priority that the state should pay for it now. The union also backs increasing taxes to avoid deeper budget cuts, although state law requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate or voter approval to boost taxes.

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