“House of Origin” Cutoff Leaves 2 Priority Bills Behind

by Council 2 Deputy Director Pat Thompson on February 19, 2016
(Despite Strong Bi Partisan Support)
            All House Bills needed to be voted out of the House and all Senate Bills need to be voted out of the Senate by 5 pm on Wednesday February 17th. The exception, and there’s always exceptions, are bills deemed to be “Necessary to Implement the Budget” (N.T.I.B).
            Unfortunately two of our priority Bills didn’t make this cutoff but can still be considered.
            Please contact your Representative and ask them to support the following two Bills:
HB 2438:   Restores liquor Profit Distribution to Counties and Cities.
Alcohol consumption increases public safety and health costs at the local level. In recognition of this, the state has shared liquor revenues with cities and counties for over 80 years. When voters approved liquor privatization through Initiative 1183, they also approved increased revenue for local governments to fund public safety. This promise of enhanced public safety funding has not been honored.
HB 2576:   Strengthening the Public Records Act due to changing technology and burdensome requests.
We support open and transparent government and continue to seek the best ways to meet this commitment. Washington Public Records Act is an important and powerful law that protects citizen’s right to know. The vast majority of requests are focused and most requestors are willing to work with Local Governments to get the information they need.
Unfortunately, the Public Records Act has not kept pace with changing technology and there is a growing number of requestors who monopolize resources with broad, voluminous, commercially driven or retaliatory requests that do not provide a public benefit proportionate to the tax-payer dollars needed to fulfill these requests.
 Good News
SB 6475:    Expanding Public Employees Benefits Board Coverage to Rural Counties.
           Another Bill with Bi Partisan support passed the Senate 48 – 0 and is now in the House Appropriations Committee. This Bill will help smaller Counties by allowing them to ability to participate in the State’s medical plan. (PEBB). Members are encouraged to contact their House Representatives.