In 2007, jubilant Democratic lawmakers  $250-a-week stipends to workers who take unpaid time off to bond with a new baby.

Two years later, without paying anyone a dime, paid family medical leave has stalled. Gov. Chris Gregoire halted computer work on it to save money. And no one agrees how to pay for the estimated $40 million annual payout.

But they may be getting closer. Lawmakers in the House and Senate are now calling for a 2-cents-an-hour fee on all workers, with the money used to pay the stipend.

And the benefit wouldn’t just apply to parents. Anyone with a sick family member could use it.

More: Spokane Spokesman-Review

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