The House Appropriations Committee had scheduled a public hearing on the House version of the 2015-17 state operating budget for 1:30 p.m. today—just two hours after presenting it for the first time at a press conference in Olympia. Another meeting was scheduled for Saturday, possibly to pass the proposal out of committee.
In a letter on Wednesday, House Republican leaders urged House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) to allow more time for the public to review the hundreds of pages of the budget proposal before a public hearing.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate this week focused on committee hearings to consider bills sent to them from the opposite chamber, following last week’s legislative cut-off date. Neither chamber held floor votes on legislation.
Members assembled for a joint session on Wednesday to honor people from communities that distinguished themselves during rescue efforts at the Oso landslide disaster one year ago.
After last week’s flurry of last-minute bill actions ahead of a major deadline, House and Senate lawmakers have settled down to a round of committee hearings on bills sent over by the opposite chamber. There are now 323 house bills before the Senate and 348 senate bills before the House. Lawmakers are also working on measures that were not subject to last Wednesday’s cut-off, because they are bills related to revenue and spending
Lawmakers have introduced 2,338 bills this session. After Wednesday’s deadline for passing bills out of their house of origin, 323 House Bills and 348 Senate Bills are still eligible for further consideration, not counting budget and transportation matters, which will be taken up later in the 105-day Regular Session that is scheduled to adjourn on April 26th.
Though the session started quietly, state senators this week engaged in lengthy and often heated debates on bills brought to a vote in the full senate. Today is the last day for consideration of bills in their house of origin, except for budget and transportation matters.
Washington’s legislative session reached its midpoint this week on Thursday, the 53rd day of this year’s scheduled 105-day regular session. Major issues, such as education funding, a final transportation plan, and the state’s operating budget for 2015-17 still lie ahead. In the meantime lawmakers are moving legislation on other topics forward at a rapid pace.
Trolls are not welcome in Washington State. Patent trolls, that is. The Senate this week passed Senate Bill 5059, called the “Patent Troll Prevention Act,” to strengthen consumer protection statutes and allow the Office of the Attorney General to bring action against a company which violate patent rules.
More than 800 of the 2,311 legislative measures introduced to date failed to survive last Friday’s deadline for passing non-budget bills out of committee. Barring extraordinary circumstances, these bills will not see action this year.
This leaves 1,489 bills for lawmakers to consider before the next legislative deadline on March 11th, the day on which either the House or the Senate must pass a bill for it to survive, except for measures related to the budget or transportation.
Today, February 20th, is the deadline for committees to pass non-budget bills to keep them moving through the House and Senate, creating a flurry of activity to meet the first of a series of legislative cut-off dates.
After today, lawmakers can introduce no more non-budget bills this year, except through special parliamentary rules that would require the consent of a majority of legislators.
This week is the deadline for the state House and Senate to pass bills in most policy committees. Any non-budget bill not passed in committee by the end of Friday will be considered dead for the year. Bills that affect the 2015-17 budget are exempt from the “cut-off” deadline. If there are enough votes, however, lawmakers can revive any measure later through special parliamentary procedures
With just over a week until the deadline for passing bills out of committee, lawmakers are busy with a full schedule of committee hearings, bills, and amendments under consideration. Any non-budget bill that does not see action by the deadline will likely be dead for the year.
State Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, announced an energy bill Wednesday to encourage carbon emission reductions, while creating jobs and avoiding new taxes.
Five senators, three Republicans and two Democrats, joined Senator Ericksen in a news conference announcing the new bill.