February 10, 2016
Photo: Close up of icy eagle sculpture

2016 Supplemental Legislative Session, Day 31 of 60

Yesterday was the second major cut-off of the 2016 legislative session–fiscal cut off in the house of origin. As of today, no new bills can be introduced and if they have a cost they must have been approved by the fiscal committee. This was the second substantial winnowing of bills that are still eligible to become law.

  • 4,172 bills were introduced
  • 1,355 bills made it out of policy and fiscal committees
  • 835 bills passed off the house or senate floor
  • 385 bills passed out of both chambers

As you can see, only about 1/4 of bills made it out of committee and were eligible to be considered on the House or Senate floor. That’s where we are now. Of those bills, about 1/2 may be voted out of the House or Senate and then have to weave their way through the same process in the other chamber. Fewer than 10% of all bills get sent to the Governor for his signature and some of those will be vetoed.

Here’s what we are watching that is still “alive”:

  • HB 2801, sponsored by Representative Drew Hansen, would make undocumented students eligible for the College Bound Scholarship;
  • SB 6409 sponsored by Senator Barbara Bailey, would create efficiencies in higher education by streamlining processes and eliminating unnecessary reporting requirements for public universities;
  • HB 2955, sponsored by Representative Drew Hansen, would establish the Free to Finish College program, making the last 15 credits free to complete for students who left EWU 3 or more years ago with at least 165 credits but no degree;
  • SB 6601, sponsored by Senator David Frockt, would create the Washington College Savings Plan program, a 529 college savings plan;
  • HB 2769, sponsored by Representative Tana Senn, would create a pilot program for community and technical colleges to offer bachelor degrees

The one caveat to all of this is: bills that are deemed “necessary to implement the budget (NTIB)” can be revived until the very end of session. This is a broad umbrella and where you see most of the last minute surprises. We don’t have any bills that we are currently watching that would fit this category. But, you never know.