Capitol News Special Session Report
January 9, 2018
Melissa Johnson, WSLHA Lobbyist

The 2018 legislative session convenes tomorrow, for the short, 60-day session. This session, legislators will be focusing again on the state budget, including K-12 funding and the capital budget. It will be off to a fast start, with hearings on the Governor's Supplemental Budget scheduled Monday and Tuesday. The biggest question in the budget, of course, is how the Legislature will find the almost $1 billion for K-12 education, as directed by the Supreme Court.

It will be interesting to see what new priorities are established and what legislation can be passed in the Senate, now that the Democrats have a narrow 25-24 majority in the Senate. Issues such as pay equity and voting rights, that haven't passed during the Republican majority years, may have a chance under Senate Democrats. With a new majority in the Senate comes new committees, committee chairs, and committee members. So check to see if your senators' committee assignments have changed.

The common theme this session- among Republicans and Democrats alike-is to get legislative business done in 60 days and adjourn on time. After last session's record-breaking 193 days, legislators are still experiencing the after-effects of that long session and do not want to repeat it. 

WSLHA will be focusing on one bill this session. We will be advocating for a bill that would increase to 12 the number of visits allowed before prior authorization is imposed. We will have bill numbers early this week. Of course, we will also be watching for other legislation that would affect WSLHA members.