This is only the second week of session, but in a 60-day session, this week marks the halfway point to the first committee cutoff. Committee hearings are in full swing, and every day there are dozens of new bills introduced. Both chambers are moving priority bills forward quickly, including breakfast after the bell, legal financial obligations, and the Voting Rights Act.

There will be a concerted push this week to adopt the state capital budget. Both the Senate and House have held hearings on the capital budget, but if a budget is not adopted by Wednesday, the state will lose millions of dollars in federal housing funding.

Republicans continue to hold out in providing any votes for the bond bill necessary to pay for the capital budget until legislation is passed on the Hirst issue. The Senate moved a Hirst bill out of committee last week with bi-partisan support, yet it is unclear that this particular solution has the wide-spread support needed to pass the Legislature.

The WSAC Legislative Steering Committee will hold its first meeting of the year in Olympia this Thursday. Guest speakers will include: David Schumacher, Governor Inslee’s budget director, House Minority Floor Leader JT Wilcox, and Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson. On Wednesday evening WSAC members will mingle with legislators at the WSAC Legislative Reception.

Josh Weiss started working in Olympia in 1998 and in addition to spending the last 8 years at WSAC, has served as nonpartisan counsel to the House of Representatives, Legislative Director for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental Policy Director for the Washington Forest Protection Association representing private forest landowners. Josh is a graduate of Central Washington University and the Vermont Law School, and is a fourth generation Washingtonian.

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