The Current | March 7, 2014

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The Current

An update on your citizen Legislature • March 7, 2014


Letter from Leadership

That faint light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter as the Legislature moves toward a March 13 adjournment. 

The big news this week was the passage of House supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. You can learn more about the supplemental operating budget to the right. 

Several other bills in both the House and Senate hang in the balance as negotiations between the chambers take place. A lot of work remains to be done. You can find next week's House schedule here.

I'd like to thank those of you who participated in our Twitter town hall last Friday. We appreciate your involvement in the legislative process.

Just six more days left. Please stay tuned!

In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
39th District
House Republican Leader

Reps. Buys and Overstreet

Town hall recap

Reps. Vincent Buys (left) and Jason Overstreet (right) talk to constituents at their Blaine town hall meeting February 22. (Photo courtesy of Krista Ruth). Washington House Republicans hosted 25 town hall meetings between February 22 and March 1.


One tough pup

Some of you may remember Shelby (pictured above), a dog that appeared at a public hearing on Senate Bill 5187 last year. She was attacked by a gray wolf at her home in Twisp. While the legislation died, an emergency rule was enacted April 26 that allowed people to lethally remove a gray wolf without a permit in order to protect their property, pets and livestock.

Unfortunately, Shelby was attacked again this year -- this time by a cougar. Learn more about her recent encounter here.

In the news

"I believe the Senate budget has the support of two-thirds of the members in the House. I think the final budget that comes out of Olympia will look more like the Senate’s bipartisan version than the House’s partisan one."

Rep. Bruce Chandler, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. Click here to read his full statement on the House supplemental operating budget.

Mike Leach

Washington State University Football Coach Mike Leach visited the Capitol today. He is pictured above with Rep. Terry Nealey during our caucus.  

Media avail

Our weekly meeting with reporters can be found hereSome of the topics from Wednesday include: the supplemental operating budget; a transportation tax package and reforms; low-carbon fuel standards; E-cigarettes; and the SMCC’s bipartisan, co-chair committee structure.

Constitutional legislative deadlines

Five-day rule: A bill delivered to the governor on March 6 or before must be signed within five days (unless the Legislature adjourns sine die within those five days). WA Constitution, Article III, § 12.

Twenty-day rule: A bill delivered to the governor on March 7 or later could be signed as late as April 5. (Note: an early adjournment changes this deadline). WA Constitution, Article III, § 12. 

Regular effective date: With adjournment on March 13 and without an emergency clause, bills will take effect June 12. (Note: advance each date by one day for every day the Legislature adjourns early). WA Constitution, Article II, § 1(c). 

Common-sense gun bill headed to governor's desk

House Bill 1840 passed out of the Legislature with no opposition this year and is headed to the governor's desk. Learn more here.

The legislation provides that a person can be ordered to not possess a firearm if a court has issued a protective order that includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to another person and that explicitly restrains the person from using or threatening to use physical force against another person.

Secretary of State announces 2014 Kids' Art Contest

Washington 4th- and 5th-grade students are eligible to participate in Secretary of State Kim Wyman's Art Contest. The winning piece of art will be featured on 3.2 million statewide voters' pamphlets. The deadline is April 16. Learn more here.

House supplemental operating budget passes with bipartisan opposition 

The House supplemental operating budget, a striking amendment to Senate Bill 6002, passed off the House floor with a 53-44 vote on Tuesday. No Washington House Republican voted for it and one House Democrat joined us. This vote stands in stark contrast to the Senate's supplemental operating budget, which passed with a strong bipartisan 41-8 vote.

The House supplemental operating budget would increase state spending by $246 million in the two-year budget cycle, resulting in total spending of about $33.8 billion. Of the $246 million increase, about $91 million is due to maintenance level changes and a net of $155 million is due to policy changes. 

The supplemental operating budget is a midcourse adjustment to the 2013-15 operating budget, which passed last June. The operating budget appropriates funding for: K-12 education; higher education; health and human services; corrections; debt service; and other parts of state government. Since it was enacted, forecasted revenue has increased and fiscal year 2013 reversions were higher than expected. This increased the fund balance for the Near General Fund-State and Opportunity Pathway accounts by $441 million.

Revenue sources for our state include: retail sales tax; business and occupation tax; property tax; real estate excise tax; and several other taxes, fees, federal revenues, transfers, etc.

Gun initiatives appear headed to the ballot

As expected, Initiative 591 (Protect Our Gun Rights Act) and Initiative 594 (Background Check for Gun Sales and Transfers) have not moved forward in the legislative process. While they can still be considered until the last day of the legislative session on March 13, it appears that voters will decide their fate in November.

This Secretary of State blog post (From Our Corner) talks about how rare it has been in our 100-year history of “direct democracy” for the Legislature to adopt initiatives to the Legislature.

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