The Washington Legislature convened the 2020 legislative session on January 13, 2020. Known as a “supplemental” legislative session, members are expected to be in town for a short period of time – sixty days to be exact. This means things move at an extremely fast pace and with a sense of urgency.
What to expect over the next sixty days
- Members will be eager to get in and out of town. It’s an election year and the longer they are in session, the less time they are out on the campaign trail.
- It’s a supplemental budget, so heavy lifts will be put off until the next biennium.
- Bills, bills, bills – while members are eager to get in and out, there will still be plenty of bills considered.
- I-976, passed by voters in fall 2019, will force budget writers to address a $450+ million shortfall in the transportation budget. Click here to read a full analysis of this shortfall and how Governor Inslee proposes to deal with it.
Now that the Governor’s proposal is on the table legislators will spend the next sixty days deciding how they want to deal with the cuts. Stay tuned for updates and solicitations for feedback.
Transportation revenue package?
- While we may very well see proposals for a multi-billion-dollar revenue package, don’t expect new dollars to start flowing any time soon.
- Senate Transportation Chairman Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) proposed a large revenue proposal last legislative session. There is a likelihood he will reintroduce this bill, or something similar, in the days ahead. House Transportation Chairman Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) has also indicated he may introduce his own bill.
- All expectations are these proposals are laying the groundwork for the 2021 biennial budget session. Nevertheless, it will be important to take these seriously and provide timely, effective, and valuable feedback.
So, here we go! Hold on to your hats, if you blink, you’ll miss it.