Less than one week to go until sine die!!! Monday, February 26th was the cut-off for bills to be out of the fiscal committees in the opposite house, and today (March 2) is the cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house. Since Monday, the House and Senate have been in bill-passing mode, often working well into the wee hours! Not all the bills that made it through the other cut-offs will be brought to the floor for a vote, but many will. I am very pleased that a number of bills that passed (or, hopefully, will pass by 5:00 p.m. today) are related to children and families.
Because both the House and the Senate will be passing bills all day today, the Bill Tracker will likely be a bit out of date by the time it arrives in your inbox. Apologies! The last tracker of the regular session will be up-to-date; however, given the 8th is sine die, some last minute changes may come later! Remember, for the latest updates, you can also visit leg.wa.gov
So, what happens between now and sine die on Thursday March 8th? A few key things! Budget negotiators will be working hard to resolve their differences so that a budget can be passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor. While many discussions have been going on, they now will pick up considerable steam since there isn’t a lot of time left if the legislature adjourns on time!
Another critical part of the process is concurrences. Concurrence is needed when the opposite house amends a bill that had made it through the original house. Essentially, after passage in the opposite house, the amended bill goes back to the original house for concurrence (i.e., the original house agrees with the changes made by the opposite house)… or not! If the original house doesn’t concur with the changes, they ask the opposite house to recede from their amendments. If the opposite house doesn’t recede, the bill goes into dispute, and the two sides then need to resolve their differences. If the differences are resolved, the bill then goes through some procedural moves to amend the agreed-upon language, and it is then voted on again by the opposite house and sent back (again) to the original house for concurrence. The concurrence process happens pretty quickly, and, again, the clock is ticking to get through a lot of bills!
And after a bill passes, what happens? Off it goes to the Governor! All the bills that passed are reviewed, and then the Governor decides whether to sign or veto. Bills that are delivered to the Governor more than five days before the legislature adjourns have five days to be acted upon. Bills that are delivered fewer than five days before the legislature adjourns have a 20-day limit for the Governor to act. Sundays are not included in the count, but Saturdays and state holidays are part of it. One might ask, who came up with this plan?!?! The answer: it actually resides in Article III, Sec. 12 of the Washington state constitution!
Keep your fingers crossed that we will be in the first day of the interim next Friday!
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, and have a wonderful week!