Week two, of course, was busy; many new bills introduced and many voted on in the policy committees. Compared with last week, there were fewer work sessions and more jam packed hearings.
And speaking of packed hearings, the comprehensive House and Senate Early Learning bills were heard this week. Both had incredible testimony from diverse aspects of the system and state, and both had overflow rooms due to the high volume of people who came to Olympia to testify or listen to what others had to say. The next likely step for these bills is amendments in their respective committees, and then, potentially, passage out of committee. One step at a time!
Also of note this week was a work session in the Senate Ways and Means committee (1/20) about vendor rates. Sec. Hunter from the Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families, Secretary Strange and a few others from DSHS, and MaryAnne Lindeblad from the Health Care Authority presented. They discussed the impact of rates they currently can pay providers on access and overall service delivery. The presentations were informative and worth (in our opinion!) watching on TVW.
This week also brought many lobby days, particularly because Monday was a holiday, and therefore a good day to come to Olympia! And yes, the legislature met on Monday, as every day of the week during the session counts as a legislative day, including weekends and holidays!
Everyone is still adjusting to the new rules related to the public records changes. The latest is that legislators, for the most part, will not take notes in committee or when they are on the floor of the House and Senate. Note passing has been a long standing practice - the way people on the outside of the House and Senate doors communicate with the legislators on the inside of the doors! The alternative to note passing hasn't been fully established but its very likely by the time session ends the new ways of doing business will seem quite normal.
Looking ahead to next week, committee hearings will dominate as legislators are trying to get a number of bills heard and passed. Week four will likely be taken up by even more executive action (term for committees voting on bills); however, additional bills will continue to be heard.
Then, many bills head to fiscal committees where many will die as a result of volume and lack of resources. However, a considerable number won't die! And if they don't, the Rules committee will be their next stop.
We went from snow to rain.... Any chance next week will bring sunshine??!!
Stay up-to-date on bills
Please use the Partners for Our Children weekly bill tracker which we update every Friday. We track many bills relevant to children, youth, and families throughout the legislative session. While we will track a large number of bills, we don't track them all and sometimes we miss important relevant legislation. If you think we've missed one (or more) that is relevant, please let us know. Also, if our brief summaries miss the mark, let us know that too! We are very open to feedback.
Because of the breadth of many bills, we also want to remind you that you can review the complete text of any bill on www.leg.wa.gov using their bill tracker.
Contact Laurie Lippold, State Policy Director and/or Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children
Thank you so much for your interest and involvement.