Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Less than one week remains of the 60-day legislative session, which is scheduled to end March 13. We've been very busy on the House floor debating and passing Senate bills. Today at 5 p.m. is the deadline for both the House and the Senate to consider bills from the opposite chambers. With the exception of bills necessary to implement the budget, all measures that have not passed from their opposite houses by today are likely “dead” for the session.
Hawkins' primary election and open government bills sent to the governor
I am very pleased to report that two of my prime-sponsored bills not only made the cut-off, but they have passed both the House and Senate and are heading to the governor's desk to await his signature.
- House Bill 2105 would require public agencies to post their meeting agendas online at least 24 hours in advance.
- House Bill 2106 would relieve county election offices of the requirement to hold a primary election when only one candidate for a position has filed to fill an unexpired term for partisan county offices.
House Democrats and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (SMCC) have released their supplemental operating budget proposals. The four-year balanced budget legislation that we passed last year requires each budget to be “balanced” out to four years. While there are similarities in the two budgets, negotiations are ongoing. The starting point for each side is much closer than in years past. This bodes well for the Legislature finishing its business on time.
Many of my colleagues voted against the House budget. I joined with them because the House budget is built on proposed tax increases of $100 million on bottled water, e-cigarettes, prescription drugs, etc. We felt the SMCC budget was more closely aligned with our priorities of funding education first, public safety and protecting the most vulnerable – plus, it contains no tax increases. In the end, the SMCC budget passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 41-8. In the House, the vote was 53-44. I expect the final negotiated supplemental operating budget will look more like the SMCC plan than the House proposal.
You can watch the entire three hour floor debate on the budget by clicking here. You can read more about the proposed supplemental budgets here.
My interview with Gov. Jay Inslee
It was my honor to recently interview Gov. Jay Inslee. I brought him apples from Wenatchee and we talked about various issues, including agriculture, education, the state's economy and his views for the future of Washington. I invite you to click on the graphic to the right and watch the interview. Or you can watch it here.
Please contact my office anytime with questions, comments or concerns. It's an honor to serve you.
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000