Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are concluding the busiest week yet of the 2018 legislative session. Seven of the past eight days (including last Saturday morning) have been dedicated to “floor action.” This means being on the floor of the Senate chamber to debate and vote on bills. We had floor action that went late into the evening more than once. In fact, one night we were working on the floor until after 1 a.m.
This Wednesday was “floor cutoff,” meaning the deadline for the Senate to pass its own bills. Now that this long round of floor action is behind us (the same goes for my colleagues in the House), we have reached a key point in the session.
My Senate colleagues and I again are focused on committee meetings, this time on bills that were approved by the House. The House committees are doing the same with Senate bills that are still alive.
Latest revenue forecast: Economic growth stronger than expected; time for property-tax relief
The new state revenue forecast released Thursday showed good news. Because of revenue collections coming in stronger than projected and an improved economic-growth outlook due in part to the recent federal tax reform, the expected revenue collections are up by $1.3 billion over the next three years, since the previous forecast in November. This new money is in addition to the $1 billion in new tax collections that have been projected since the Legislature passed a new state budget last year.
This week’s revenue forecast reinforces my Republican colleagues’ belief that we can and should pass a supplemental operating budget without raising taxes or creating an energy tax.
The positive forecast news strengthens the case for offering property-tax relief this year. SB 6439 proposes a $1 billion property tax cut to deal with a one-time “spike” in 2018 property taxes caused by the new school-financing plan adopted by the Legislature last year.
Senate passes two of my bills!
Two of my bills are now past the halfway point of the lawmaking process:
- Senate Bill 6155 seeks to increase awareness of the need for bone-marrow donors. It would require the state Department of Licensing to provide each driver’s license or identicard applicant with written materials regarding bone-marrow donation. This proposal was scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee this morning.
- Senate Bill 6157 would help patients have access to the health-care benefits for which they have already paid for in their health plans. It would allow people better access to health care by changing an insurance carrier’s initial prior-authorization process so patients can have six consecutive treatment visits, without prior authorization, with specialty-care providers that have been determined to be medically necessary. This bill would not expand health-care benefits. The House Health Care and Wellness Committee will have a public hearing on SB 6157 next Tuesday.
Honoring Canine Crusaders
It was my pleasure to sponsor a Senate resolution Thursday honoring the Kettle Falls Canine Crusaders, one of the many FIRST Robotics teams across America. The Canine Crusaders, led by Naomi Edwards, spend time in elementary and middle schools in our area to help expose younger students to creative, technical and critical thinking, and to let students know the importance and value of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). It’s a great program that helps so many of our students! You can view my resolution here.
Phone: (360) 786-7612 | Email: Shelly.Short@leg.wa.gov |
Mail: P.O. Box 40407 Olympia, Washington 98504-0407