In This Edition
- SSB 6340 COLA Bill Passes the Senate, Moves to House
- WA State Legislative Bill Summary
- State Treasurer Calls for Using Increased State Revenue to Reduce Unfunded Pension Liabilities
- Save Medicare & Medicaid National Call-In
- State Legislator Town Hall Meetings
- State Legislative Session Cutoff Dates
SSB 6340 COLA Bill Passes the Senate, Moves to House
(by Emily Murphy, RPEC Lobbyist)
STAY TUNED FOR AN ACTION ALERT EARLY NEXT WEEK (based on the budget proposals released Monday and Tuesday).
Good News! Hours before the House of Origin cut-off deadline, our COLA bill (SB 6340) passed the Senate on Wednesday with unanimous support! The bill as passed provides a 2% COLA up to a monthly maximum of $62.50. Though it is less than we requested, it will provide some relief. RPEC members’ steadfast advocacy made this major milestone possible! Congratulations!
Please take a moment to thank your Senator for voting for SB 6340.
The much-anticipated February 2018 revenue forecast released on Thursday (2/15) shows an increase of $647 million for this biennium (2017-19) and an anticipated increase of $671 million for next biennium (2019-21). This is welcomed news. It is likely that a significant portion of this revenue will be directed towards mental health treatment, education funding and the rainy-day fund, though it does bode well for RPEC priorities.
The Senate budget is due to be released on Monday and the House budget is due to be released on Tuesday. Both budgets are scheduled to be heard in fiscal committees on Tuesday at 3:30pm (Appropriations in the House, Ways and Means in the Senate). We can reasonably expect the Senate budget to fund the COLA outlined in SB 6340 since they passed the policy. While no COLA bill passed the House and therefore is less likely to be funded in their budget, we hope to see at least a modest increase in the PEBB healthcare subsidy in the House Budget.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION AND A CALL TO ACTION EARLY NEXT WEEK. Our message will be based on what is outlined in the budgets.
WA State Legislative Bill Summary
Here is a link to the list of bills currently of focus to RPEC: http://www.rpecwa.org/bill-summary-2-16-2018/
State Treasurer Calls for Using Increased State Revenue to Reduce Unfunded Pension Liabilities
(Olympia, WA) Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson today called on the Legislature to use some of the unprecedented increase in State Revenue to pay down State obligations rather than spending all of it on expanding existing programs.
Treasurer Davidson stated, “It is good financial management to use unexpected revenue to pay down your most expensive debt. Many families do this when they get a windfall – they might pay off their credit card. Washington State’s most expensive debt is our unfunded pension liability. We are currently short about $13.8 billion in our pension funds (as of August 2017 SIB report). Today we’ve received news that the State now expects an additional roughly $1.3 billion to come into State coffers from now through 2021. While some of this windfall will go into our rainy day fund and portions are needed to address education and mental health court decisions, the remainder should be used to pay down some of this pension obligation.”
Save Medicare & Medicaid National Call-In
From the ARA – Save Medicare & Medicaid National Call-In Days
February is the month to make calls into Congress in support of preserving Medicare and Medicaid.
Call 866-828-4162 and tell your Representatives and Senators to “Oppose cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or government assistance for low-income seniors to pay for the next tax law”.
State Legislator Town Hall Meetings
From WFSE.org – The Senate Democrats and House Democrats have updated the town hall meetings they’re taking part in. Find them online:
- Senate Democrats: http://sdc.wastateleg.org/blog/2018/02/12/senate-democrats-to-hold-town-hall-meetings-feb-17/
- House Democrats: https://housedemocrats.wa.gov/news/2018-town-hall-schedule/
Here are a few that may involve members from other caucuses:
- 36th District Noel Frame will hold a “Drop-In Town Hall” 4-7 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 18, at Flying Bike Co-op Brewery, 8570 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle.
- 39th District Carolyn Eslick and Sen. Keith Wagoner will host Town Hall Meetings in Sultan and Arlington, this Saturday, Feb. 17: Sultan Town Hall from 10 a.m. – 12 Noon; and Arlington’s Hadley Hall from 4-6 p.m.
- 1st Legislative District Shelley Kloba, Rep. Derek Stanford and Sen. Guy Palumbo will hold a Town Hall Meeting, 3:30-5:30 p.m., this Saturday, Feb. 17, Mobius Hall, Cascadia Community College, 18345 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011.
- 22nd Legislative District Laurie Dolan, Rep. Beth Doglio and Sen. Sam Hunt will hold a Town Hall Meeting, 6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 22, SPSCC Lacey Event Center, 4220 6th Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503. Doors open at 6pm for a social half hour – this will give everyone plenty of time to say a friendly hello to their neighbors, grab a snack, and get situated in their seats. Childcare will be provided.
- 28th Legislative District Christine Kilduff, Rep, Dick Muri and Sen. Steve O’Ban hold a Town Hall Meeting, 3 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, at Steilacoom Town Hall, 1717 Lafayette Street, Steilacoom, 98388.
- 43rd Legislative District Nicole Macri, Rep. Frank Chopp and Sen. Jamie Pedersen hold a Town Hall Meeting, 1:30-3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave., Seattle.
State Legislative Session Cutoff Dates
The next major cutoff deadlines come next week.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
- The Senate Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a vote on its supplemental budget proposal, SB 6032.
- The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a vote on its supplemental budget proposal, HB 2299.
Friday, Feb. 23
- Opposite chamber committee cut-off day: Most House bills must pass Senate committees, and most Senate bills must pass House committees. The exceptions are bills in House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees; they have until Monday, Feb. 26 to pass out bills.