The Lobbyist's Report:
Legislative Deadlines as 2014 Session Moves into
Last Four Weeks
Tuesday, February 18, is the deadline for each chamber to pass out its bills. Unless the bill is necessary to implement the supplemental budget (it is still unclear if there will be a supplemental operating budget), the bill is a goner without a floor vote. Since neither the House nor the Senate worked this weekend, many bills will meet their end.
In light of this deadline, one would expect a feeling of urgency on Monday. However, there was none the last few days; meeting the lower expectations many have of this legislative session, given its short duration, and the upcoming election cycle. Hopes for a transportation package were further reduced on Thursday, February 13, when the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) and the House and Senate Democrats held dueling press conferences, each pointing the finger at the other for the lack of a transportation funding package. The House does not intend to engage in further negotiations until the MCC passes or shows it can pass its version of a transportation revenue package (like the House did in 2013). The MCC will not attempt to pass a transportation revenue package until transportation system reforms are passed. Yet, neither the House nor the Senate Democrats will pass the reform bills until a funding package is passed. It is hard to see a path where this is completed with only a few weeks left in the session.
Wednesday, February 19, brings the start of another round of substantive policy hearings. Each chamber's policy committees have only 10 days to consider the bills from the other chamber. Hearing schedules are being updated constantly as floor actions churn out more bills to be considered. Bills passed on Tuesday, February 17, will have a hard time getting heard and acted on by next Friday, February 28. It is a reminder that the legislative process is weighed against bills passing, which is probably a good thing.
On Thursday, February 20, the State's fiscal forecast will be released. It is unclear whether the forecast will include revenue from potential recreational marijuana sales. The forecast could determine whether the MCC decides to push a supplemental budget this session. Some think it might not be necessary.
Bills that are still alive and have a chance include:
2244: This bill would shift funds back to the public works assistance account that were taken to balance last year's biennial budget. It would not undo this year's operating budget since it would take effect during the next biennium. This bill is awaiting a House floor vote.
2251: Washington's Department of Transportation and Department of Fish and Wildlife would be required to contact and confer with counties and cities to identify and prioritize impediments to fish passage. It is waiting for a House floor vote.
: Similar to a bill vetoed by the Governor last year, this bill would obligate counties and cities to adopt deferral systems for the collection of impact fees. It is waiting for a House floor vote.
6110:The statutory requirement regarding approval of a surety bond would be amended and made applicable to all surety bonds issued in the state and also supersede any contrary state statute, law, or public body ordinance, including local ordinances. It passed the Senate.
6516: This bill creates a joint legislative task force to study financing options for water supply, flood control and storm water projects. It is waiting for a Senate floor vote.
APA Washington Legislative Committee