Week at a glance
- There is a huge number of issues before the Legislature. Like last week, this week there was a lot of activity on campus, particularly around policies related to firearms (e.g., universal background checks and protecting gun rights). Additionally, there are hundreds of bills before the Legislature for consideration. Given this is a short session with fewer scheduled work days, the pace is very fast. With the huge number of issues before the Legislature and a fast timeline to consider them, many bills will not survive the first cutoff on Feb. 7.
- Pace in policy committees picks up as first cutoff approaches. The first cutoff is Feb. 7 for bills to be voted out of the policy committees they have been assigned to. As a result, committee agendas are quite full right now as committee chairs work to keep bills moving — and advocates are contacting legislators to request the bills they care about get a public hearing and an executive session (vote) so that the bill can keep progressing.
- Early Start proposal momentum remains strong — scheduled for first vote on Monday. Following last week’s positive public hearing on HB 2377, the Early Start proposal (Rep. Hunter, D-Medina), is scheduled for a vote in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee on Monday, Feb. 3. The bill did not receive a vote on Jan. 30 as originally scheduled, because of a lack of time. If the bill receives an affirmative vote, it will be assigned to House Appropriations (i.e., the fiscal committee). Rep. Hunter, HB 2377’s prime sponsor, is the Chair of the Appropriations Committee.
- Early Learning Regional Coalitions continue to work their bill. The Early Learning Regional Coalitions (ELRCs) will meet with Gov. Jay Inslee’s early learning policy staff, Department of Early Learning Director Bette Hyde, and perhaps legislators on Feb. 3 in Olympia. Nearly 20 representatives from the coalitions are expected to participate in the Children’s Alliance Have a Heart for Kids annual advocacy day and will use their trip to Olympia to advocate for the proposal to establish permanent voting positions for the coalitions on the state Early Learning Advisory Committee.
- Late this week, a companion bill to HB 2282 was introduced in the Senate (SB 6520) by Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver). HB 2282 is currently in Rules and the Early Learning Regional Coalitions are working to get a “pull” so it can be heard on the full floor of the House. It is unclear at this time if SB 6520 will receive a public hearing and affirmative vote in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on or by the Feb. 7 cutoff.