Really? Week 7 already? It’s hard to believe that if this were a short session (60 days) we would be rounding the corner towards the end!
As it is (long session of 105 days), another milestone was achieved this week as Monday, Feb. 22nd was cut-off for bills to be out of the fiscal committees of origin, and on Tuesday floor action began!
All things considered, it seems that floor action is going pretty smoothly. Definitely there are times when the process is delayed, as well as times when conferring on an amendment that has been offered is a lot harder because members and staff can’t go into the wings to discuss it, grab other members, talk with advocates, and the like. But again, amendments are being introduced, considered, accepted, and rejected…. indicating that the remote process can work – just differently!
And speaking of different, the Senate, has shifted to electronic floor voting! Prior to this session, the Senate has always done voice floor votes, which can take considerable time when in person, let alone remotely. What happens now is that the President of the Senate opens up the roll call machine, and, when everyone has voted, the clerk runs through the list of Senators and reads into the record how they all voted. Much quicker process, and we are still able to hear how each member voted. So again, advantages and disadvantages of the remote session!
The tracker is updated to the best of our ability, given that floor action takes place throughout the day and often into the night.
A few bills that we have been following that are now out of their original House include (not a comprehensive list!):
SB5151 – The bill that includes the child-specific license
SB5331 – The early childhood court (aka baby court)
SB5229 – Health equity continuing education
SB5068 – Postpartum period/Medicaid
SB5030 – School counseling
HB1151 – Bolstering economic recovery
HB1194 – Parent-child visitation
There are many, many, many more bills to get through. While they have until March 9th, the time goes fast. And, waiting for bills to come up on the floor calendar can be a real nail-biter!
Just a reminder…. in the Partner's for Our Children bill tracker we include amendments for a few of the bills. Complete information on all the bills can be found on www.leg.wa.gov Also, to watch floor action go to TVW.org. Action is broadcast live, and it’s also archived if you missed what you wanted to see!
Have a wonderful weekend!