Legislative Update: Feb. 24, 2019.

Legislative Update: Feb. 24, 2019

The next cutoff date is for bills to be voted out of fiscal committees, to which they would have been referred if they have some kind of monetary impact. That cutoff is this Friday, March 1. Of the 57 bills still alive, 26 are in fiscal committees awaiting action. A few of those may not be subject to the cutoff because they are “necessary to implement the budget,” which is a somewhat subjective determination, but most of them need to be voted out of the fiscal committees by Friday or they too will be dead.

As you know, last Friday was the deadline for bills to be voted out of policy committees in their house of origin. Any bill that didn’t achieve that milestone is considered dead for this session. No bill is ever really dead until the session adjourns Sine Die – the legislature could, with a sufficient majority, pull the bill out of committee and bring it directly to the floor, although that is quite rare. Of the 86 bills we have been monitoring, 29 are now dead.

The dead bills include the following that were of significant interest:

HB 1888 Protecting employee information [including birthdates] from public disclosure.

HB 2105 Concerning the definition of public records in regards to the legislature.

HB 2115 Concerning the disclosure of public records by the legislative branch.

SB 5112 Concerning the efficient administration of campaign finance and public disclosure reporting and enforcement (but the companion bill SHB 1195 is still alive).

SB 5667 Concerning public records request administration (the companion HB 1667 is still alive).

SB 5784 Concerning records disclosure and retention obligations of the legislative branch.

A couple of those bills, HB 2105 and HB 2115, were introduced right before cutoff and had no chance of being heard, but they are noteworthy because they both have to do with legislative records. HB 2115 is much simpler than SB 5784 (Sen. Pedersen’s bill), but still has some of the expansive exemptions to which WCOG objects. HB 2105 is much closer to what we’re looking for – simply put the legislature under the PRA the same as all other agencies; the issue of concern with 2105 is that it is not retroactive, meaning that the rules as they exist now would continue to apply to records created before 2018, but that’s still way better than any legislative records bill we’ve seen previously. We don’t expect any of these bills to move during this session, but you just never know. Vigilance is necessary.

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. (in Rules)
  • HB 1667 Concerning public records request administration. (in Appropriations)
  • SHB 1692 Protecting information concerning agency employees who have filed a claim of harassment or stalking. (in Rules)
  • SHB 1782 Concerning public meetings of advisory groups established by local governments and other agencies. (in Rules)
  • HB 1537 Concerning sunshine committee recommendations. (in Rules)
  • SHB 1538 Concerning sunshine committee recommendations. (in Rules)
  • SB 5221 Concerning disclosure of contributions from political committees to other political committees is in committee for hearing in the House; the companion SHB 1379 is also still alive, although the senate bill is probably the one that will advance, since it has already passed the house of origin.
  • SB 5787 Concerning hours of availability for inspection and copying of public records. (in Rules)
  • SHB 1379 Concerning disclosure of contributions from political committees to other political committees. (on Senate 2nd Reading calendar)

We encourage you to contact your legislators and ask them to vote Yes on this 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.

Here is our complete list of 2019 Legislative priorities.