Bills, bills, and more bills! It is anticipated that through the next several weeks we will continue to see a lot of bills introduced. They will likely slow down as the policy cut-off gets closer and it takes time to hear, amend, and then take a vote on a bill. Committees operate differently from one another; however, they are all subject to the same timeline and generally follow a similar process.
The P4C weekly bill tracker will sometimes include multiple bill numbers in the same box. Why is that? It’s because there is a companion bill in the other chamber of the legislature. A companion bill is when the same bill is introduced on both the House and Senate sides. It is often done just in case the bill gets stuck in one of the chambers; perhaps because a committee doesn’t have time to hear or vote on every bill that gets referred, or sometimes because it can make it easier to get a bill through a committee in one chamber if it was already heard and passed in the other.
At some point in the process, however, a decision will be made as to which chamber will move the bill forward. This is often prior to having it come to the floor for a vote since floor time is precious and if a bill has already passed in one chamber then there isn’t necessarily a need to pass it in the other chamber. Various factors go into the decision about which bill to keep moving… such as number of bills the House/Senate have to get through, language changes that may have occurred as each bill has gone through the process, and others. It should also be noted that once the bill is introduced as a companion the two versions don’t have to stay the same. For example, the House bill may not be amended at all, but the Senate bill might have a lot of very significant amendments! The tracker will indicate if bills have been amended and will include the amendments for some but not all of the bills.
Since session began we've noticed fewer people around the capitol campus. The crowdsthat often came for lobby days smaller than usual, very likely because groups are doing either remote gatherings or allowing for the option of in person or virtual. Who knows how things will evolve throughout the session, but for now there has been a bit more breathing room than pre-pandemic!
You will see on the tracker that the bills introduced this week begin where you see “WEEK 2” in red. The status for all of the bills on the tracker has been updated – both week one and week two. If you want more information on bills go to leg.wa.gov! Such a great website.
And one more thing…. if you want to weigh in on a bill (either pro/con), here is a guide for how to do so. You can sign in to testify, provide written testimony, or have your position on the record.
Here you go:
- You first need to log in to the Committee Sign in Page HERE
- Then you pick the “House or Senate” hyperlink, depending on what chamber the bill in question is being heard.
- In the meetings drop down menu, find the committee the bill is being heard in.
- Right next to that drop down menu pick the correct day of the hearing.
- It will then take you to a new screen that shows the agenda items, and click the button next to the correct bill in question.
- It will then bring up a list of hyperlinks to choose from, and choose which option suits you best.
- I would like to testify in person during the hearing
- I would like to testify remotely
- I would like my position noted for the legislative record
- I would like to submit written testimony
From there you just need to fill out your information. Log in and watch democracy happen in real time!
Remember these hearings are all recorded and you can watch them on TVW
Here is the bill tracker for week Two: P4C week two bill tracker 2023.
Have a good weekend!