Legislative Update: March 2, 2019.

Legislative Update: March 2, 2019

Here’s the WCOG Bill Status Report as of Saturday, March 2.

Last Friday was the deadline for bills to be voted out of fiscal committees in their house of origin. Any bill that didn’t achieve that milestone is considered dead for this session, although it can be hard to know which bills might be deemed “necessary to implement the budget” and thus not subject to cutoff dates. Of the 86 bills we have been monitoring, 39 appear to now be dead.

The next cutoff date is for bills to be voted off the floor of their house of origin. That cutoff is Wednesday, March 13. Between now and then, both chambers will spend nearly all their time in caucus or on the floor debating and voting on bills. Things can move very quickly, with amendments being introduced and voted on with very little notice – in fact, most of the onerous provisions in the PRA today regarding access to legislative records were introduced in just such “dark of night” of amendments with little debate. Vigilance is important.

The following bills that we support or oppose are still alive:

  • SHB 1195 Concerning the efficient administration of campaign finance and public disclosure reporting and enforcement.
  • SHB 1667 Concerning public records request administration.
  • SHB 1692 Protecting information concerning agency employees who have filed a claim of harassment or stalking.
  • SHB 1782 Concerning public meetings of advisory groups established by local governments and other agencies.
  • HB 1537 Concerning sunshine committee recommendations.
  • SHB 1538 Concerning sunshine committee recommendations.
  • SB 5787 Concerning hours of availability for inspection and copying of public records.
  • SHB 1379 Concerning disclosure of contributions from political committees to other political committees.

We encourage you to contact your legislators and ask them to vote Yes on the bills we support and No on the bills we oppose. Please see the Bill Status Report for details on the bills. We are actively studying the various amendments that were made to bills in committee to determine if our concerns have been addressed and will be working to find sponsors for amendments that are still needed, either as floor amendments in the house of origin or committee amendments in the opposite house.

Please note that Saturday, March 16, is the traditional date on which legislator hold mid-session town hall meetings in their districts. If you have the opportunity, please go to your local town hall meeting and let your legislators know that open government is important to you!

Here is our complete list of 2019 Legislative priorities.