2018 Legislative Session Preview: What you can expect

2018 Legislative Session Preview: What you can expect

It isn’t ‘out with the old and in with the new’ when lawmakers reconvene in Olympia Monday for the 60-day legislative session. When the 193-day session ended in July, 2,000 bills had not yet been acted on.

Those bills will be reintroduced along with 200 new bills that have been filed so far.

Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) says we’ve got to start where we left off.

“I think first and foremost we need to pass a capital budget that funds our schools,” said Riccelli.

When the session wrapped in July, lawmakers thought they had this covered, but the court says it still must come up with one billion dollars to satisfy the McCleary ruling. The ruling requires the state to take on the full cost of teacher and school administrators salaries.

Also carrying over from the last session; what to do about the Hirst decision that limited access to drinking water in rural parts of the state.

Riccelli said, “A lot of folks have been focused on the Hirst, making sure folks can have access to water. That certainly remains an issue we are looking at but i think first and foremost it’s passing a budget.”

For the first time since 2012, the Democrats have total control. In a press conference with Governor Jay Inslee Friday, they say their focus is on a package of bills that aim to increase democracy in the state of Washington.

Governor Inslee explained, “in our last presidential election, there were one million Washingtonians who could have voted but were not registered to vote. Almost another million were registered but did not vote.”

The bills collectively called “Access to Democracy,” focus on three things:

-Building higher confidence in the system
-Better participation
-Better representation.

That’s what the lawmakers are interested in but what about Washingtonians? According to Washington Votes, a website that gives the public access to information all things in the legislature, their most viewed bills are focused on background checks and the banning of assault rifles.