Fiscal committee cut-off has come and gone (April 4th), and we are moving towards cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house (Wednesday, April 12th).  This is nail-biting time as there are a lot of bills in Rules that need to get pulled to the second reading calendar in order to be voted on and the clock is ticking!

But… as you know, a number of bills will be deemed necessary to implement the budget (NTIB) and therefore not really subject to the impending cut-off date.  For example, HB 1661, the bill establishing the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, did not come out of Ways and Means but has been deemed NTIB, so it is not really dead.  Additionally, now is the time legislators and advocates look for living bills onto which they could conceivably amend a bill or sections of a bill that would otherwise be dead.  In order to do this, however, the title of the bill has to fit with the subject matter or the proposed amendment could be ruled out of scope and object.

There are also bills in play that have not passed their original house but are not considered dead.  Take SB 5890, a bill dealing with foster care and adoption support.  The history of the bill, as indicated on leg.wa.gov, is as follows:

Mar 16
First reading, referred to Ways & Means
Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 3:30 PM.
 
Mar 20
Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 3:30 PM
WM - Majority; 1st substitute bill be substituted, do pass. 
 
Mar 22
Passed to Rules Committee for second reading.
 
Mar 29
Placed on second reading by Rules Committee.

This does not comport with the cut-off calendar – remember, the cut-off for bills to be out of the original house was March 8th, and this bill wasn’t introduced until March 16th!

If the bill is voted out of the Senate, it will likely be referred to House Appropriations.  It is considered NTIB by the Senate as it is referenced in their budget.  However, it is not known at this time what will happen to the bill in the House!  Stay tuned!!

With respect to the budget, negotiations have really not yet begun but hopefully will soon.  The House Finance Committee heard and passed their revenue package, but it is unknown at this time if/when it will come up on the House floor for a vote.  Most speculate that there will be multiple special sessions, but the budget writers state publicly that their goal is to work towards reaching an agreement within the regular session… While it’s very hard to imagine resolution by April 23rd, getting negotiations underway would be a good first step!

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Have a good week!
 
 
Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director