2/13/17 The next state revenue forecast comes out this Thursday, March 16. That’s the last piece of data legislators need before launching into debate on the budget – and funding our contracts.
Up to now, the only budget target has been the proposal put forward by Gov. Jay Inslee in December. But the Legislature has the final say and first the Senate (within the next two weeks) and then the House will issue their separate budget versions. Federation members are scheduling dozens if not hundreds of events around the state between now and the end of the regular session on April 23. Watch for details.
In the meantime, more legislative town hall meetings on the way
More legislative town hall meetings are coming up. This is where you can ask the tough questions and where your legislators stand on funding our contracts. Check if there is a town hall meeting coming up in your area.
And don’t forget the importance of telling your stories
There was a great turnout this morning (March 13) for the WFSE/AFSCME Legislative District 22 Breakfast. Members from a variety of agencies asked questions and shared their personal stories to their three legislators: Sen. Sam Hunt, Rep. Laurie Dolan and Rep. Beth Doglio. They encouraged members to continue telling their stories because those will play a critical part when the budget debate over funding of our contracts begins within the next two weeks.
If you haven’t seen our Facebook campaign featuring members’ stories on what Federation members do and why funding our contracts is vital to keeping good state employees, see the full profiles to date at: www.wfse.org/public-service-matters
Here’s what’s also on tap for this week:
Monday, March 13:
Today, the House Public Safety Committee took up SSB 5132, the bill expanding the powers of liquor enforcement officers. A committee vote is set for Thursday.
Tuesday, March 14:
The Senate Ways and Means Committee takes up a good bill sponsored by Sen. Dino Rossi of the 45th Dist. that would go a long way to help our state Parks system. SB 5838 would allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to help clear up the backlog of needed improvements to state parks.
The House State Government, Elections and IT Committee takes up SSB 5207, concerning the public disclosure of global positioning system data corresponding to residential addresses of public employees and volunteers.
The House Environment Committee takes up a revenue bill, HB 1646 on a proposed carbon tax that promotes clean energy, clean air, health forests and Washington’s communities.
Wednesday, March 15:
The Senate State Government Committee takes up SHB 1160, a bill we have concerns about that enacts recommendations of the state Sunshine Committee, which makes recommendations to the Legislature to repeal or amend exemptions to the Public Records Act. The bill is important to watch because it deals with public employee records.
The House State Government, Elections and IT Committee takes up SSB 5374, the Whistleblower bill that includes the amendment from the Federation and State Auditor that would remove from public disclosure state employees who file whistleblower complaints that aren’t investigated.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee takes up two bills affecting members at Fircrest School and Yakima Valley School. The bills are SSB 5594 – The Fircrest School transition services bill; and SB 5646 to repeal the downsizing of Yakima Valley School enacted in 2011 and boost crisis stabilization and respite service at the Selah facility.
Thursday, March 16:
The state Revenue Forecast is released.
Friday, March 17:
A day to watch for bills to come up for committee votes. The next committee cutoff deadline is March 29 when most House bills still alive must pass their Senate committees and most Senate bills must pass their House committees.