We have reached that time of Session in which our workload, at least in terms of the volume of bills we are tracking, is significantly reduced. Policy cutoff, fiscal cutoff, and now floor action is quickly decreasing the number of bills that will continue on in the legislative process. Wednesday, March 8th, will give us a greater picture of what we will continue to work on in the second half of Session.
There are still many bills to work on despite the ongoing reduction. The resentencing bills remain a concern because of the extra work and court time they will divert from an already overburdened system (i.e. HB 1324 and SHB 1108). These are bills that altogether skipped fiscal committees because they didn’t have a State fiscal impact, but they most certainly have a detrimental county fiscal impact. One of the Blake bills, 2SHB 1492, continues to trouble counties because of the expansive take it has on the Blake decision. As written, the bill would seriously impact the backlogged court system and suck up time and resources that have already been dedicated to many individuals.
On a positive note, our priority bill on Behavioral Health Network Adequacy, E2SHB 1515, passed the House unanimously last night. We can also breathe a little easier, for now, about the version of the Trueblood bill, 2SSB 5440, that was passed out of the Senate yesterday. The current version of the bill is a significant improvement. The potential negative impact on counties has greatly decreased. The hope is that the bill continues to improve, and not worsen, as it goes through the House. There are a variety of other, good bills that we will continue to push to get passed out of the house of origin before the house of origin cutoff. There is still a lot that can happen up until that point. Keep your fingers and toes crossed.
WSAC, Policy Director