The first major cut-off, when bills must be out of their policy committees of origin, is coming up on February 5th. As a result, many bills were heard this past week, many more are scheduled for next week, and in addition to hearing the bills, committees are spending considerable time exec’ing them (i.e., voting on them).
It should be noted that bills are often amended in committee, and while the weekly update will indicate this for some of the bills being tracked, it will not include summaries on all of the amendments. We hope this doesn’t cause any confusion! Amendments can be found on leg.wa.gov under “Agendas, Schedules, & Calendars”.
Money money money… Or the lack thereof! While the February revenue forecast is important in terms of developing the budget, legislators are not waiting to roll up their sleeves and delve into the supplemental budget process. In both the House and Senate, legislators are providing the budget writers with their priorities, as are the multitude of organizations and groups that also have priorities. The four-year outlook presents challenges as there appears to be a large hole in the budget, perhaps in the $700M realm. McCleary, Western State, Dept. of Corrections, and charter schools are front and center with respect to legislative attention, and will clearly require considerable resources to address. To what degree there are resources available for a variety of other priorities remains to be seen!
Given next Friday is the cut-off for bills to get out of their original policy committees, our legislative update may have to play catch-up the following week! We’ll do our best to be up to date, but when things are moving fast and timelines don’t necessarily mesh, we may not be able to do so.
Have a good weekend!
Public Policy Director