Welcome to Week 1 of the 2013 Legislative Session! 

 

It has been quite a week:

  • Governor Gregoire gave her final State of the State address
  • Governor Inslee was sworn in and gave his inaugural address (and of course had a big inaugural ball!)
  • The Senate Majority Coalition took control of the opening proceedings of the Senate and elected Sen. Rodney Tom as the Coalition Majority leader, Sen. Tim Sheldon as president pro tem, and Hunter Goodman as Secretary of the Senate (this is a position held by a non-elected individual).   

The Majority Coalition is made up of the Senate Republicans and two Senate Democrats.  This, in effect, gives the Republicans the majority and allows them to control the floor proceedings and the committees.  The situation with the committees is unique..... Two committees (Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development; and Financial Institutions and Insurance) are chaired by Democrats; however, only one of these (Agriculture) gives the Democrats a majority of members.  One committee (Transportation) is co-chaired and has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, and the rest are controlled by the Republicans. The Democrats are in control in the House.

2013 is a biennial budget year, which means the legislature will be developing the 2013-2015 budget.  There is a budget deficit and a court requirement to fund the McCleary (K-12) decision.  Billions of dollars have already been cut from the budget, hitting services for children and families very hard.  That makes it extremely difficult to find additional places to cut, which leads many to promote new revenue... or at least a combination of cuts and new revenue - the approach taken by Governor Gregoire in her "Book 2" budget (introduced Dec. 18th).

Being a biennial budget year also means it is a long session --- 105 days, with the possibility of a special session (or sessions) following the end of the regular session.  Long sessions generally also mean the introduction of many bills, many of which will die, but many of which will pass and become law. 

Every week, this update will reference bills relevant to children and families. POC will be updating an online list of all of these bills in our Bill Tracker on the POC website. The Bill Tracker will not contain and summarize all of the bills introduced or even all that have relevance to children.  For example, some K-12 bills will be included in the update but not all.  Some revenue related bills will be covered - not all.  It should also be noted that any bill's inclusion in the Bill Tracker does not indicate support for the bill.  In fact, positions will generally not be stated; however, there may be some exceptions.  Additionally, the update will not direct specific action of a bill.  It is really for informational purposes! 

Please visit POC's Bill Tracker today to see the first round of 2013 bills relevant to children and families:

partnersforourchildren.org/policy/bill-tracker

The legislative website (leg.wa.gov) is a great place to go to access bills, find information about committee assignment, and much more. If you are unable to find information about a particular bill, please let us know.  Also, if there are bills you think we should be tracking, let us know that too!

Here's to a great 2013 session......  Thank you for your interest in the weekly updates! 

 
Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director