Statement by Washington Policy Center on Senate Passage of Transportation Bills
OLYMPIA — The Washington state Senate passed two transportation bills today, in the wake of eight important reforms senators passed last Friday. Together, the bills reflect long-standing Washington Policy Center recommendations to reduce the cost of building roads in Washington state and provide congestion relief to the traveling public.
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.
Senate Bill 5187 would restrict Clark County’s transit agency, C-Tran, from allocating time and money to plan light rail projects that have already been rejected by voters. Only if voters approve the plan at a later date would C-Tran be allowed to devote resources toward light rail.
In our prior blog post we looked at the volatility of capital gains taxes and how California adopted a constitutional amendment to force more savings of its revenue from that source versus spending it to reduce the state's rollercoaster budgeting.
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.
Senator Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) has released a new edition of his Washington White Board video series, arguing that state officials pay entry-level public school teachers so little they qualify for public assistance. Senator Liias has also introduced a bill to create a state income tax.
Top executives at the WSFE/AFSCME Council 28 union launched a major lobbying campaign today to urge lawmakers to vote an additional $440 million for public employee salaries. The across-the-board boost would be in addition to promotions and automatic step increases state employees already receive.
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.
Senate Bill 5992 is one of eight transportation package reform bills introduced in the state Senate last week. The goal of the reform bill is to reduce the cost of ferries by introducing an open bidding procurement model similar to the proven method that has benefited British Columbian taxpayers.
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