This is the last week of the 2017 legislative session. At this point, much of our time on the Floor is spent voting on concurrences. Bills that are passed out of the House and are then amended and passed by the Senate require the House to give them thumbs up to send them to the governor so he can enact them into law. The same process is required for Senate bills that were amended in the House.
Most of the time the House concurs with the Senate’s changes and vice-versa. When one chamber does not agree with the changes made by the other chamber, there is no concurrence and the bill joins all the other bills that failed to become laws. Since this is the first year of the biennium, many of the bills that didn’t make it are re-introduced in the short session.
You may have heard in the news that budget negotiations are still not resolved, and since our state constitution requires us to pass a balanced budget, our work is not done until we reach an agreement. So while it is still possible to find a solution and pass a budget by April 23, we have to be prepared if no agreement is reached. If we do not get this done by Sunday, the governor will call us back for a “special session” to finish our work and that could happen right away or after a few days.
My hope is that we figure out the budget before it comes to that, but if need be, I will be here.
Standing up for our service members and veterans
Recognizing the sacrifices made by veterans, service members, and their families when they are called to protect our state and our nation, we have prioritized legislation to help them out by passing these bills and sending them over to the governor for his signature:
Protecting the most vulnerable among us
The Legislature recently passed two pieces of legislation that will create greater protections for vulnerable individuals in our communities. HB 1153 provides protection for those who cannot care for themselves due to age, disability, disease or developmental disorders, and HB 1163 cracks down on repeat domestic violence offenders.
Keeping Naselle Youth Camp open
The Naselle Youth Camp (NYC) provides kids who are at risk of falling into a life of crime a place to grow, learn, and become productive members of our society who develop a deep concern for the well-being of their communities. Many of them started out in life with difficult footing, dealing with learning disorders or emotional issues caused by unstable childhoods, poverty and drugs.
Saying goodbye to our intern
This is the last week of the regular session and also the last week our intern Sarah will be with us.
During the course of the session, Sarah has been busy behind the scenes helping with constituent correspondence and meetings. Outside of the legislature, Sarah attends The Evergreen State College and studies Agriculture and Policy. She will graduate with her B.A. this June.
As always, I appreciate your taking the time to read my updates. If you have any questions, need additional information, or have some feedback for me, please give me a call or send me an email.