Washington State House Democrats


Blake’s 2/17/17 Update: Cutoff / Exempt Wells / Suicide Prevention / Watch my videos

Dear neighbors,

Today is policy committee cutoff, so we’ll soon start spending a lot of time on the Floor passing bills and sending them to the Senate for their consideration. Likewise, we’ll be receiving bills passed by the Senate so we can consider them in House committees.

If you’re following a specific issue in either chamber and you need more information don’t hesitate to contact my office.

Bills, committees and… What is cutoff?

With over 1,000 bills introduced so far in the House this session, you might wonder how legislators can keep track of it all.


The House of Representatives has 20 committees, each focused on a specific set of issues.  At any given time, up to five different committees may be meeting at once, each considering their own lists of legislation and hearing from members of the public. Legislators sit on 2-4 committees and are able to dive deep into the bills in those areas.

Another thing that helps us narrow down which bills to concentrate on is the series of deadlines that a bill must meet in order to move forward in the legislative process.  The first of those deadlines is today, “policy committee cutoff.” Any House bills that did not pass out of the policy committees by the cutoff date are “dead” and won’t be considered any more this session. The exception is for bills that are in fiscal committees (those committees have a later cutoff) or bills that are necessary to implement the budget.

Exempt Wells

I co-hosted a presentation from the Water Systems Council, a Washington, D.C. based organization founded in 1932, on reasoned solutions toward Rural Water Issues, such as the ones we are facing here in Washington concerning the recent “Hirst” Decision – combined with other significant court rulings made over the past three years.

WSC is a respected nationwide rural water focus group. In past years, WSC has assisted the states of Florida, North Carolina, and Montana with contentious matters dealing with their respective rural groundwater issues. Our guest speaker, Mr. Jesse Richardson, WSC’s Policy and Research Advisor, shared a wealth of knowledge on the controversial ruling with a room of bipartisan lawmakers and staff. It was a great educational opportunity for folks to ask questions and get answers from someone who has studied the subject extensively.

We hope that this presentation will bring awareness and knowledge on water law in Washington state so that we can pass legislation that helps our communities move forward from the Hirst Supreme Court decision. I want to continue working on this issue to see what we can come up with to help our rural communities thrive and grow.

Suicide Prevention

This Thursday was Suicide Prevention Education Day in Olympia. We had a Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope for a Suicide-Safer Homes Memorial on the Capitol lawn to recognize the lives lost to suicide in 2015. I also attended a presentation on suicide prevention to show my support for those promoting the awareness of suicide as a leading cause of death in Washington state.

It was very moving to hear the stories of survivors and to see so many people there supporting the work we’ve done at the Legislature to make Washington state the leader in the nation in suicide prevention.


This year, I am supporting these measures to further our vision of making Washington a model suicide prevention state: 

HB 1612 to create a fund for a Suicide-Safer Homes public education platform. 

HB 1379 to support comprehensive suicide prevention initiatives on college and university campuses statewide.

Watch my videos

Click here for my latest Ask Brian video, and here for my latest Legislative Update video. Or you can go here for my entire video playlist.

As always, I appreciate the time you take to read my newsletter and I hope you find some of this information useful.

Keep your calls, letters and emails coming; hearing from you helps me represent you better.