The third week of session brought the total number of bills introduced to over 1600. With nearly three weeks to go until the first policy committee cutoff, there’s plenty of time for bills to be introduced and heard, but some committee chairs already have their schedules full for that time period and will have to squeeze in bills they want to add.
Still, there is no shortage of work to be done and policy staff spent a lot of time in committee hearings and meetings with legislators last week.
- They testified in support of a bill to direct some of the money from Discover Pass violations to smaller counties who certainly felt the impact in their courts since the infraction was first created.
- They testified on vital records.
- They met with the local government caucus to inform them about bills that would significantly impact the counties – good and bad.
- They testified on bills designed to improve the public works contracting procedures.
- They met with other lobbyists to learn why a nursing compact bill would matter to counties.
- They met with legislative leadership and testified at a Local Government Committee work session to talk about county funding restrictions and their negative impacts.
- They negotiated bills on foreclosure to assure a funding source that would not take from county budgets and one on occupational diseases that will lessen the impacts on counties as compared to last year’s bill.
This is just a fraction of the issues policy staff addressed last week, and they did all this while having the WSAC Board of Directors and the Legislative Steering Committee in town. While here, the LSC met with representatives from the Orca Recovery Task Force to hear about and debate the recommendations the task force made.
Week four will include several bills regarding GMA, housing, annexation, and natural resources, to name a few. The carefully crafted PILT bills – HB 1662 and SB 5696 – will be heard in committee on February 6 and February 7, respectively. If passed, the legislation will have a positive impact on funding for all counties.
Week 4 will also include a hearing on HB 1667 – February 8 – that will improve public records reporting and makes the grant program grant program for local agencies to improve technology information systems for public record retention, management, and disclosure, and any related training permanent.