As the days go by the pros and cons of a remote session are becoming more apparent.
On the pro side, people from around the state can testify more easily on bills, getting from meeting to meeting is quite easy (!), and really there aren’t disruptions (such as someone popping in, passersby outside their offices, etc.) when having meetings with legislators.
On the con side, the quick, sometimes spontaneous, conversations with colleagues, legislators, staff, and others about a bill just can’t happen. And that makes it harder to address issues and concerns about legislation in the moment. Not being able to connect in person is yet another COVID-related loss. The ultimate impact on the passage of bills remains to be seen, but it definitely feels different!
The week was full of hearings and work sessions. Fewer bills are being introduced; however, this fact doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of them! Some bills actually will make it to the floor of their respective house soon – which seems quicker than usual during a long session, and others have yet to be scheduled for a hearing (and may not be!). Some legislators are concerned about how long it will take to get through a bill on the floor, so it definitely makes sense to move things along with respect to hearing and passing bills in committee.
A number of significant bills were heard this week, including the Keeping Families Together and Parent-Child Visitation bills (1227 and 1194), the Fair Start for Kids Act (HB1213/SB5237), and the Community Transitions for young people in juvenile rehabilitation institutions (HB1186). The committees will continue to amend and take action on bills for the next few weeks so more to come!
Interested in weighing in on a bill? It’s easy! Go to www.leg.wa.gov, click on Visiting the Legislature in the box on the left; then click on Participating in Committee Hearings…. The rest is self-explanatory!
And remember, to watch a hearing, visit www.leg.wa.gov, then go to Agendas, Schedules, and Calendars, click on Committee Meeting Agendas, Schedules, and Documents. From there, either put the date in or scroll down. You can also view hearings on TVW. Hard to imagine having this remote session without fabulous resources, like TVW, available to us!
We hope the Partners for Our Children bill tracker was of use last week and that you use the tracker a lot this session!
Remember, we like feedback, especially if you see errors or there are bills you believe should be included or have suggestions/comments. Just email Nicole.
Thanks for all that you do!