With nearly two weeks left before the first policy committee cutoff, well over 1900 bills have been introduced. And, both the House and Senate have already begun floor action. The House has already sent 18 bills over to the Senate while the Senate sent 6 to the House. Governor Inslee has already signed one bill into law – HB 1064, the law enforcement use of force compromise.

Some of the biggest news of the week is that Liz Lovelett was chosen to replace Sen. Kevin Ranker for the 40th District Senate seat. She was sworn into office immediately following the vote of the county commissioners. Senator Lovelett has served on the Anacortes City Council since 2014, and we welcome another member to our “local government caucus.”

Next week promises to be an interesting one, with several hearings that warrant attention.

Here are just a few examples:

HB 1591, scheduled for hearing next Tuesday, relates to the rights of persons experiencing homelessness. It prohibits discrimination based on housing status and gives them the right to survive in a public space, free from harassment by law enforcement, if they have no reasonable alternative. In a nutshell, the legal review indicates that it will turn public buildings into shelters, give rights to homeless persons that non-homeless persons do not enjoy, undermines local ordinances, and is overly broad and vague.

HB 1711 will be heard in House Local Government on February 12th, as well. This bill establishes procedures for the formation of new counties or the consolidation of existing counties.

HB 1718, will be heard at the same hearing. The bill allows some funding flexibility by removing nonsupplant language.

With the governor having declared a state of emergency due to the snowy weather, and two more storms on their way, it’s possible that the legislature could operate on an amended schedule this week. They did cancel some hearings at the end of last week due to the weather.

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Mellani McAleenan

Mellani joined WSAC as the Director of Government Relations and General Counsel. Mellani has worked in government relations since 2000, most recently as Director of Government Affairs for the Dental Association. Mellani has also represented the state judicial branch of government as the primary legislative advocate for the Board for Judicial Administration, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Supreme Court. Mellani earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Seattle University and her BS in Human Services from Wayland Baptist University.
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