Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Several notable milestones have come and gone in the last week here in the state Legislature. I would like to take a few minutes to give you an update. Also, please join me and Rep. Bill Jenkin next Tuesday, March 14 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a telephone town hall. Details are below.
Milestones and stats
Wednesday, March 1, was the halfway point of the scheduled 105-day session in Olympia. Yesterday, March 8 was house-of-origin cutoff. House bills that are not passed out of the House as of yesterday are considered “dead” for the session. Bills that are necessary to implement the budget are exempt from the cutoff.
As some of you know, I'm a basketball player and fan, so I enjoy statistics. Here are some interesting 2017 session stats:
- 1,166 bills introduced in the House.
- 376 House bills passed and sent to the Senate.
- 890 bills introduced in the Senate.
- 282 Senate bills passed and sent to the House.
- 1,398 House and Senate bills introduced this year are now “dead” for this session. Some, however, may be “resurrected” to implement the budget.
Now that we've passed the floor deadline, our focus reverts back to the committee process where we will begin holding public hearings, debates and votes on Senate bills.
Nealey legislation gains House approval
All five of my prime-sponsored bills made it out of their respective committees. Three of the five passed out of the House by yesterday's deadline. They include:
- House Bill 1296 – Would simplify the process of tax reporting for certain entities and individuals in Washington state that receive tax preferences. More details in this press release.
- House Bill 1450 – Would create a rating bureau to review and adjust rates for title insurance companies.
- House Bill 1595 – Would bring the state's Public Records Act into modern times, allowing governments to charge a modest fee for electronic records for minimal cost recovery, just as the original act had provided for paper copies. This also includes components to discourage abusive requestors from asking for all records, which slows the ability for legitimate requestors to receive information promptly. Public records requests cost state and local governments in Washington more than $60 million in 2015 and cost recovery was fractional.
I also co-sponsored another important Public Records Act reform bill with Rep. Joan McBride, D-Kirkland:
- House Bill 1594 – Would assist agencies in efficient management of documents and public records requests.
Get more information about my Public Records Act reform legislation here:
- OPINION EDITORIAL: Bringing the Public Records Act into the modern world
- PODCAST: Rep. Terry Nealey discusses importance of Public Records Act reform
- PODCAST: Reps. Terry Nealey and Joan McBride discuss bipartisan public records reform
- RADIO INTERVIEW: Rep. Terry Nealey talks about public records transparency with KONA Radio
- NEWS RELEASE: Bill would reduce vexatious public records requests while preserving access
Positive action behind the scenes on McCleary education funding issue
Our focus has been passing bills out of the House before cutoff. However, we have also been consistently working behind the scenes to address the McCleary court requirements.
Both House Democrats and Senate Republicans have each passed their proposals through their respective chambers. The Education Funding Task Force, made up of representatives from all four caucuses in the House and Senate, have been meeting regularly. One of its members is Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, whose office at the Capitol is next to mine. Rep. Harris has been working on a House Republican plan that would use the best of the other two education proposals, including higher pay for starting teachers, as well as a sustainable funding mechanism.
On Thursday, March 16, the state's quarterly revenue forecast will be released, which will give us a more precise accounting of dollars available for budgeting. We should see budget proposals come out soon afterward that include the new education spending plans.
We want to hear from you! Join us for a telephone town hall meeting this Tuesday night!
I would like to invite you to join me and Rep. Bill Jenkin this coming Tuesday, March 14, for a telephone town hall meeting. The community conversation, which is similar to a call-in radio format, will begin at 6 p.m. and last an hour. We will take your questions and provide an update of the 2017 legislative session.
To participate, call (509) 795-3789 beginning at 6 p.m. Once connected, you can listen in and press * (star) on your telephone keypad to ask questions. You'll also have the opportunity to vote on survey questions that ask about major issues before the Legislature. We look forward to hearing from you!