Capitol News
April 3, 2017
Melissa Johnson, WSLHA Lobbyist

The focus this week was on the House budget. Similar to last week's Senate budget rollout, the House Democrats' budget was released, heard in committee, and voted on by the House in a matter of days. As expected, the House floor vote was along party line, 50-48. 

General provisions in the House budget include the following:

  • The Senate budget spends approximately $44 billion in the 2017-19 biennium.
  • A corresponding revenue package of $3 billion.
  • K-12 education, mental health, public health, and higher education are the larger policy level increases in the House budget.

Unlike the Senate budget, the House budget makes no reduction to the Health Professions Loan Repayment Program. And in a related item, HB 2143, the bill allowing for graduate students in health care related studies to access the Opportunity Scholarship Program, is still alive and moving through the House.

Attention now turns to the House Democrats' revenue package, with a hearing on Monday and committee vote on Tuesday.

Also this week, policy committees wrapped up their business to meet the policy committee cutoff on Wednesday. This means that any bill that didn't pass out of its policy committee by then is dead, except for bills related to the budget. The fiscal committee cutoff is Tuesday, April 4th. And all bills (except budget-related bills) must be out of their opposite house (Senate bills out of the House; House bills out of the Senate) by Wednesday, April 12th. The session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 23rd, with a special session likely.

WSLHA High Priority Bills

Bill #

Abbrev. Title

Short Description

Status

Sponsor

Position

SHB 1059 (ESB 5023)

School levy lid revs./delay

Delaying implementation of revisions to the school levy lid. (REVISED FOR ENGROSSED: Changing provisions relating to school district excess levies.)

C 6 L 17

Wellman

 

ESHB 1843 (SB 5623)

Basic education program

Fulfilling the state's paramount duty for all children through equitable and responsible investments in the state's basic education program and reductions to local effort contributions.

S Ways & Means

Sullivan

 

SB 5177

Hearing loss training

Requiring long-term care workers to be trained to recognize hearing loss.

H Rules R

Bailey

 

SB 5179

Hearing instrument coverage

Requiring coverage for hearing instruments under public employee and Medicaid programs.

H Approps

Bailey

Support

SB 5607

Education

Concerning education.

H Approps

Braun

 

SB 5825

K-12 education funding

Addressing the state's paramount duty to fully fund K-12 education by creating a new partnership between the state and local school districts.

S Ways & Means

Mullet