The following article was compiled by the Lens staff.
Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community, and their movement through the legislature. Wednesday, March 29 marked the last day for bills originating from the opposite chamber to pass out of committee, with the exception of House fiscal committees and the Senate Ways and Means and Transportation committees. Also this week, the House Democrats released their 2017-19 operating budget, and the Senate passed its 2017-19 capital budget.
Check back every week for new updates!
House Operating Budget
The state House proposed 2017-19 operating budget includes over $7 billion in increased basic education spending over four years and a variety of new taxes to pay for it, including a capital gains income tax. Read More. It approved by the House on Friday, March 31.
House Operating Budget Funding
HB 2186 (Lytton) would impose a variety of taxes to pay for increased operating budget spending, including a capital gains income tax. Read More. It is scheduled for a public hearing in House Finance Committee on Monday, April 3.
Bi-State Bridge Talks
SB 5806 (Cleveland) calls for the creation of a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee to come up with recommendations on how to address the southwest Washington I-5 corridor between Vancouver and Portland, Oregon. Read More. The bill was placed on second reading in Rules Committee on Friday, March 31.
Companion bill HB 2095 (Wylie) passed the state House and received a public hearing in March 28 in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Senate Capital Budget
On Thursday, March 30, the Washington State Senate approved its 2017-19 capital budget proposal unanimously, which includes $1.1 billion investment in K-12 facility construction or renovation, $857 million for higher education facilities, including $428 million to the community and technical college system, and $429 million to Washington’s public four-year schools, according to a post from Capital Budget Chair State Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-15).
That budget contains the largest investment in school construction in state history, according to a tweet by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus.
Sound Transit Budget Guard Rails
SB 5892 (Fortunato) want to force the regional transit agency to obtain voter reauthorization if these projects go too far over-budget. Read more. The bill would require a new vote if after two years following the project’s approval its overall budget is 100 percent greater than the initial estimate. It was passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee after a Wednesday, March 27 public hearing and is now in Rules for a second reading.
Hirst Decision Bill
–SB 5239 (Warnick) would allow cities and counties to once again rely on Ecology guidelines for complying with water quality standards under the Growth Management Act (GMA). Read more. The bill did not receive executive action before the Wednesday, March 29 deadline for voting out for committee, however, according to State Rep. Brian Blake (D-19), discussions will begin next week to prepare the legislation for the House Floor.
Skilled Worker Outreach
–SB 5713 (Palumbo) would create the Skilled Worker Outreach, Recruitment, and Career Awareness Training Program, which would distribute public-private matching grants for recruiting skilled workers. Read more. On Wednesday, March 29, the bill passed the House Higher Education Committee unanimously, and is scheduled for a Saturday, April 1 public hearing in House Appropriations.
Alcohol In Movie Theaters
-SB 5161 (Keiser) would allow movie theaters to sell alcohol without a tabletop, seating, or screen requirement. Read more. On Wednesday, March 29, the House Commerce and Gaming Committee approved the bill in an 8-3 vote. The measure is scheduled for public hearing in front of the House Appropriations Committee on Saturday, April 1.
Gender Pay Equity
–HB 1506 (Senn) would update the Equal Pay Act and prohibit employment opportunity discrimination based on gender or several other factors. Read more. On Wednesday, March 29, the measure passed out of the Senate Commerce, Labor, and Sports Committee and was sent to Rules.
Environmental Impact Statement Timeline
–SB 5438 (Braun) would encourage state agencies to complete environmental impact statements within two years, or shorter when feasible. Read more. On Monday, March 27, the measure passed unanimously out of the House Environment Committee and was sent to rules.
This article is part of a weekly series. Read last week’s update here.