(360) 786-7604|Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Spokane Comes To Olympia

January 28th, 2015|

This past week made Olympia feel like home as we welcomed more than 100 Spokane area constituents to the Capitol Campus.

Sen. Billig talks to Spokane constituents

Sen. Billig talks to Spokane constituents

There were education, business, non-profit and community leaders advocating for our community as part of the Greater Spokane Incorporated joint chamber delegation. Plus, we hosted several other large groups of constituents, including home care workers, teens advocating to protect and expand funding for health care, and a group calling themselves “Outmates” who had served their time and are looking for a fair start to begin productive lives after prison.

These meetings keep me focused on my primary mission here in Olympia: to represent Spokane, expand opportunities and build prosperity in our community. A big thank you to everyone who made the trip!

In addition, on Monday, we honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Capitol. It seemed particularly fitting on a day dedicated to Dr. King that we focus our attention on grassroots constituent advocacy and particularly on our next generation of leaders: our children, which was a common theme through almost all of the Spokane-related meetings last week.

 

Sheena Henderson Act:

In July 2014, Christopher Henderson shot and killed himself and his wife, Sheena, at Deaconess Hospital. The firearm he used had been confiscated by police a month earlier, following an apparent suicide attempt.

In the wake of this tragedy, Sheena’s parents have called for legislation that will help prevent violence like this in the future.

To that end, I have introduced a bill that will create a safety protocol for returning confiscated firearms.  SB 5381 prioritizes the safety of families by requiring police to provide notice to immediate familymembers that have requested such notice before firearms are returned.

I was so glad that members of Sheena’s family could be with me last week as we dropped the Sheena Henderson Act in the hopper and begin its journey to, hopefully, becoming a law.

Bill Drop

Sen. Billig dropping the Sheena Henderson Act with Sheena’s family.

SB 5381 has been referred to the Law & Justice Committee and we will hopefully have a hearing on the bill in the next couple of weeks.

You can read more about Sheena’s story here.

 

Keeping in Touch:

If you have a comment, idea, or question, please let me know. I would love to hear from you!

You can reach me by e-mail (andy.billig@leg.wa.gov) or by phone at 360-786-7604.

And if you know someone who would like to get their own copy of my weekly e-newsletter, tell them they can go to my website at http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/billig/ and click on the link to “Sign up for my e-newsletter.”

Onward!

Andy

E-newsletter – Kick-off to the 2015 Session

January 19th, 2015|

unnamed

Sen. Billig on appears on TVW’s Opening Day Special. (Click on the image to see the interview!)

Monday, January 12th marked the first day of the 2015 Legislative Session. There were the usual ceremonies to mark the opening of the session as well as the introduction of dozens of bills taking their first step in the journey to perhaps becoming a law.

I kicked off the session with legislation that will help shine a light on the dark money in Washington State elections. This bill – SB 5153 – requires that any organization involved in state elections disclose its donors regardless of non-profit status. Currently, some non-profits use their status to avoid disclosure. In the past few years, we’ve seen political organizations on both sides of the aisle use their non-profit status to avoid disclosing their donors. As more money is spent in political campaigns in new and different ways, we need to ensure that our campaign finance laws are up to date and provide the transparency that voters demand and a healthy democracy requires.

SB 5153 has a broad list of bipartisan co-sponsors and received widespread support from editorial boards, including the Seattle Times and most recently theSpokesman-Review!

For more information, please read the press release issued from Wednesday morning.

Become a Senate Page


Are you a high school student between the ages of 14 and 16? Are you curious about state government? Are you interested in a paid, interactive learning experience? Do you like to climb lots of stairs? If so, you should apply to join Team Billig as a student Senate page!

Student pages participate in a one-week program that offers a one-of-a-kind look into the inner workings of state government.

unnamed (1)

Click on the image to see what it’s really like to be a page.

As a page, you will deliver important messages and documents, attend committee hearings, and get a unique front-row seat at the Washington State Legislature.

If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a page, please fill out this application!

One more addition to our office


I could not be more pleased with our staff for the 2015 session. Kate and John have been doing a tremendous job so far and we are excited to add our intern, Maureen Haeger, to round out the team.

unnamed (2)
Maureen grew up in Spokane and lives there with her husband and son. She is a junior at Eastern Washington University, where she is majoring in philosophy and government. After graduation, Maureen plans to attend law school. Welcome, Maureen!

Keeping in Touch

If you have a comment, idea, or question, please let me know. I would love to hear from you!

You can reach me by e-mail (andy.billig@leg.wa.gov) or by phone at 360-786-7604.

And if you know someone who would like to get their own copy of my weekly e-newsletter, tell them they can go to my website at http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/billig/ and click on the link to “Sign up for my e-newsletter.”

Onward!

Andy

Billig introduces campaign finance transparency legislation

January 14th, 2015|

Legislation introduced today by Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, would bring increased transparency and accountability to reducing the prevalence of dark money in Washington’s campaign finance system.

SB 5153 would require any organization participating significantly in Washington political campaigns to follow the disclosure requirements for political action committees regardless of their non-profit status. SB 5153 has a bipartisan list of co-sponsors, including Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.

“Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or an independent, the people of this state count on free and fair elections when making their voting decisions,” said Billig. “As more and more money gets spent in political campaigns in new and different ways, we need to ensure that our campaign finance standards keep up and provide the disclosure and transparency that voters count on and our democracy depends on.”

The limits of Washington’s campaign finance disclosure laws have been made clear in the past two years. In 2013, political committees on both sides of the aisle used their non-profit status to avoid disclosure of millions of dollars in donations. The Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, for example, avoided disclosure for donors after spending more than $11 million to fund a committee opposed to Initiative 522. It was only after the discovery of a specific fundraising e-mail that the attorney general was able to require disclosure. Also in 2013, Working Washington — a registered nonprofit — raised more than $250,000 in support of the SeaTac minimum wage initiative but did not release the names of its donors.

The issue returned to Washington in 2014, when an independent organization spending money in a legislative election was able to use its non-profit status to avoid disclosing its donors. SB 5153 would have applied to all of these cases and required timely disclosure of donors.

A bill largely similar to this current proposal, SB 6098, was introduced in 2014 and received support from newspapers across the state including the Spokesman-Review, the Seattle Times and the Olympian. SB 6098 was passed out of committee but was not brought to a vote on the Senate floor.

“It’s clear that we need to act to combat the rise of dark money in politics,” said Billig. “This is a bipartisan issue and this bill is a bipartisan solution. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill and bring the transparency that voters expect and deserve.”

E-newsletter – Billig Elected Deputy Leader

January 5th, 2015|

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I wish everyone a joyous, healthy, and successful 2015!

Deputy Minority Leader

I was honored that my colleagues recently elected me Deputy Leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus. As deputy minority leader, I will work to lead the Senate in passing legislation that will provide opportunities and build prosperity for the citizens of our state. In particular, I will continue to focus on the next generation, our children, with a fully funded education system that supports students from early learning, through K-12, and into a higher education system with tuition that families in our community can afford.

For the upcoming session, I was also elected to serve on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee.

The legislative session begins on January 12th.

New Year, New Staff

Paul Dillon, who has served as my legislative assistant since 2011, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, will be leaving to take a job with the YMCA as the Easter Washington Director of their Youth and Government Program. Paul has been an enormous asset to me and the people of our district, and I am extremely grateful to him. I wish him much success in his new job.

I am pleased to announce that Kate Burke will be joining our team as our legislative assistant. Many of you might already know Kate. Last year, she did a excellent job as our session aide, and she is also a familiar face in the community. Born and raised in Spokane, Kate loves the Lilac City. In addition to serving our community through our senate office, Kate is deeply involved with many other organizations and non-profits in the Spokane community.

Kate is the founder and leader of the non-profit Spokane Edible Tree Project. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Project Hope Spokane. Kate is an avid cyclist and served 2 years on the Bicycle Advisory Board for the City of Spokane. Most recently, she served as the Development Director for the Lands Council. Kate is looking forward to serving Spokane and the state in this new role.

katephoto_original

Our New Session Aide

Our session aide for this year will be John Draxler. He graduated from Gonzaga University in 2014 and is excited to help us represent Spokane. On campus, John was active with various community engagement programs that focused on urban poverty, civic activism and the environment. In his senior year, he combined these interests with student advocacy to serve as Gonzaga’s student body president.

johnphoto_original

Keeping In Touch

If you have a comment, idea, question, please let me know. I would love to hear from you!

You can reach me by e-mail (andy.billig@leg.wa.gov) or by phone at 509-209-2427.

And if you know someone who would like to get their own copy of my weekly e-newsletter, tell them they can go to my website at http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/billig/ and click on the link to “Sign up for my e-newsletter.”

Onward!

Andy