Day 40: Policy Cutoff

February 17, 2017
Picture: Top of Showalter Hall

Today is Day 40 of the 2017 Regular Session–and House of Origin policy cutoff!

So, what does policy cutoff mean? It means that today is the last day to pass policy bills out of committee. Bills that are not voted out of their policy committee by end of day today are “dead.” Unless they are necessary to implement the budget (NTIB).

Here’s a quick reminder about how a bill becomes a law in Washington:

  1. Bill in introduced in house or senate
  2. Bill gets a hearing in a policy committee (example: higher education)
  3. Policy committee passes the bill
  4. Bill will cost the state some money so it gets sent to a fiscal committee
  5. Fiscal committee hears the bill and passes it
  6. Bill gets sent to Rules where member’s decide which bills go to the floor
  7. Bill gets voted out of its House of Origin (House or Senate)
  8. Bill starts the process all over again in the other chamber
  9. If the Bill makes it through the other chambers policy and fiscal committees and then gets voted off the floor
  10. Bill is signed by the Governor

As of this afternoon, 1,172 bills have been introduced in the House and 907 bills in the Senate. Of these 2,079 bills, roughly 250 are ready to be voted out of their chamber. Another couple hundred died in their respective policy committees; and, many are waiting for a hearing in the fiscal committees. Just over 50 bills have already been voted off the floor and sent to the other chamber.

Those bills that still remain and have a cost associated with them must be voted out of the fiscal committees by next Friday.

So, here’s a short and somewhat incomplete list of what we are watching:

  • SHB 1057: Requires that institutions provide loan information to students
  • SHB 1333/SB 5234: Establishing a statewide policy for awarding AP credit
  • HB 1488: Expanding access to the College Bound program
  • SHB 1561: Expanding the use of Open Educational Resources
  • HB 1737/SB 5525: Concerning veterans’ mental health services at institutions of higher education
  • SHB 1827: Expanding the educator workforce
  • SB 5684: Creating the higher education infrastructure investment program
  • SB 5712: Developing a bilingual educational workforce
  • SB 5820: Concerning financial aid and the state need grant

Most of these bills have a cost associated with them–so, we will keep an eye on them and see if they make it through the fiscal committees by the end of next week.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of these bills (or others!) feel free to reach out to David Buri at dburi@ewu.edu.