FEBRUARY 10, 2023
The countdown to the first cut-off has begun! One week from today, Feb. 17th, is the cut-off for bills to get out of their committee of origin or they die for this session. As we have discussed previously there are ways to keep dead bills alive (e.g. provisos, amending on to another bill that’s still alive), and because they were introduced in the first year of the biennium, they remain viable for the full biennium. Be that as it may, the push is on to get bills out of the policy committees, which means a lot of exec sessions are happening! Bills that are heard the week of the 13th have less chance of making it out of committee, but nothing is impossible.
There are also more and more bills being scheduled in the fiscal committees and an increasing number of bills being exec’d in those committees. From there they go to Rules, and then to the House/Senate floor for a vote. Getting a bill out of their house of origin this early is excellent because it could mean that it will be scheduled early on after the house of origin cut-off. Once that happens the time frame becomes much tighter. But the process is moving along and it is very hard to believe we are going into week 6!
As you can see, the bill tracker has become quite lengthy! But as we get closer and closer to the first cut-off, fewer bills are being introduced so it shouldn’t get much longer! And after the 17th, you will likely see many the status updates showing that a bill did not come up for exec action prior to cut-off and therefore is dead. Again, that is only for this session or unless it comes back to life another way!
The first few weeks of session were quieter than usual with respect to the number of in person lobby days being held, general hallway/public space crowds, and availability of parking! That seems to be changing, however, and the hustle and bustle of session is definitely re-emerging! That said, the hearing rooms are noticeably less packed, in great part because of the option to testify remotely. It is fabulous that individuals from around the state are able to express their views without spending hours and hours on the road. For example, a couple of the bills we are tracking were heard in the fiscal committees this week and among the ‘testifiers’ were folks from Yakima, Bremerton, Seattle, Spokane, Olympia, and elsewhere. Big thanks to the legislature and staff for making this option available so everyone has more of an opportunity to share their perspectives.
The next tracker is due to come out the day of the first cut-off so to ensure we are sending up to date information (to the best of our ability), we might wait until the end of the day (Friday, 2/17) to send it out. We will also include more information about some of the bills that were amended in the next update. Stay tuned!
Thanks all and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here is the bill tracker for week five: P4C week five bill tracker 2023