For the first time in many years, the legislature adjourned, Sine Die, on time! Shortly after 10:00 pm on Thursday, March 8th, the 60th day of the 2018 regular session, the gavels banged and the session came to an end.
While contentious at times, it was, in general, a very good session for children and families. Legislation dealing with child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, housing and homelessness, early learning, poverty, and more passed both chambers and will be in front of the Governor for action. The Governor can sign a bill into law in its entirety or can veto sections. Most bills that pass are signed into law, but definitely not all!
A budget agreement was announced on March 7th, and on March 8th, both the House and the Senate passed the 2018 supplemental budget. It was a party-line vote in the Senate, and, with the exception of four Republicans in the House, a party-line vote there as well. The Governor will review the budget and take action within the next 20 days or so (depending on when it is delivered to him). In the next week or so, we will post a chart comparing the various budgets that have been introduced since December, when the Governor released his budget.
In addition to the passage of the operating, capital, and transportation budgets, along with a variety of bills and I-940 (the 'deadly force' initiative), a number of legislators were honored for their service, as they are not seeking re-election. Chief among them is Rep. Ruth Kagi, an amazing legislator and champion for issues related to children and families. Rep. Kagi came into the legislature in 1999 and is responsible for groundbreaking legislation, such as the creation of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. She is highly respected by both parties in the House and Senate, as well as the Executive branch, advocates, the private sector, colleagues around the country, and all who have had the good fortune of working with her. It is hard to imagine the legislature without Rep. Kagi, but we imagine (and hope!) that she will stay actively involved in the policy arena. Thank you, Rep. Kagi, for ALL you have done to improve the lives of so many children and families in Washington state and across the nation.
As this will be our last weekly update for quite some time (until January 2019), we thank you for your ongoing interest in the work of the legislature. We hope that the updates have been helpful and appreciate any feedback. We have attempted to make the weekly Bill Tracker user-friendly, but we are always looking for ways to improve!
Have a good interim, and we’ll be back in 2019!