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

Monthly Archives: March 2017

E News- Fly, Fly Away…

March 20th, 2017|

Thank you to everyone who attended our town hall meeting in Spokane. It was exciting to see democracy in action with nearly 400 people in attendance sharing their legislative and community priorities.

If you were not able to attend the town hall, please don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime about the issues that matter most to you.

Now, I am excited to get back to work representing you as we enter the second half of this 105-day legislative session.

This week the Senate Republican’s budgets should be released. Next week House Democrats are scheduled to introduce their budgets. Stay tuned.

Complying with Federal Travel Requirements

If you have been in an airport recently, you may have noticed signs indicating that your Washington state driver’s license may soon not be valid for air travel due to the federal REAL ID Act.

To bring our state into compliance, legislation was recently voted out of the Senate that will allow Washington state’s enhanced driver’s licenses to be used for federal identification purposes. The price for these enhanced licenses will be reduced from the current levels, making them more accessible.

Regular driver’s licenses will still be available for drivers who do not care about air travel or who would rather use their passports when they fly.  The bill is currently in the House but I expect it to pass this session.

Levy Cliff Bill is a Win for Students and Schools

After weeks of negotiations, the Senate was finally able to pass the levy cliff bill – legislation that allows school districts to continue collecting local taxes at the current rate for another year. If we failed to extend this deadline, schools across the state would have had to slash their budgets by more than $350 million. Spokane schools, for instance faced a loss of $14 million in school funding.

While I am relieved we resolved this immediate problem, an even larger challenge looms: meeting our constitutional obligation to fully and fairly fund our schools. I continue to be one of the eight legislators participating in the four corner education funding negotiations and remain hopeful that the Legislature will agree on a bipartisan education funding solution that helps every student achieve their fullest potential.

Keep in Touch

I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in Spokane and our state. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have a comment, idea or questions.

You can reach me by email andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at 360-786-7604.

Onward!

Andy

 

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    Billig: Levy cliff bill is a win for students and schools, now let’s look forward and fully fund K-12

Billig: Levy cliff bill is a win for students and schools, now let’s look forward and fully fund K-12

March 9th, 2017|

Olympia- Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, issued the following statement today regarding the passage of Senate Bill 5023, commonly known as the levy cliff bill. Billig played an instrumental role in the negotiation process that resulted in the bill finally being brought to the floor for a vote:

“I’m certain that families, teachers and administrators in Spokane and across the state are feeling a sense of relief now that the levy cliff bill has passed – I’m relieved too.

“Schools in Spokane stood to lose more than $14 million in funding.

“This bill not only provides a sense of certainty for our teachers, families and students, it is a testament to what we can accomplish when we put our political differences aside to do the right thing.

“Often when people think about government, they think about D.C. and gridlock.

“But in this state, we have proven that we can work together to find common ground.

“With that said, it’s time to put this issue behind us and look forward. After all, this is only a small step towards meeting our constitutional obligation to fully and fairly fund our schools.

“I am confident that if we use the same spirit of cooperation we saw today, we can negotiate and finalize a complete education funding solution that helps every student achieve their fullest potential.

# # #

 

For more information: Jon Fowler, Senate Democratic Caucus – 360-786-7535

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    Senate Majority blocks Billig’s campaign finance legislation

Senate Majority blocks Billig’s campaign finance legislation

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, released the following statement after the Republican Senate majority blocked his motion to bring the DISCLOSE Act (Senate Bill 5219), his signature campaign finance transparency legislation, to the floor for a vote:

“Prior to my motion, Senate Republicans brought to the floor politically divisive legislation they claimed would lead to greater transparency and accountability in our elections.

“In response to their expressed desire to address the glaring loopholes of our elections process and the funding of political campaigns, I moved to bring SB 5219 up for a vote so we could have a broader and more productive conversation about ways to make our democracy stronger.

“Their refusal to consider SB 5219 paints a clear picture that they are not interested in accountability and fairness in our elections.

“This is now the fourth year in a row that the Republican majority in the Senate has blocked this transparency bill from moving forward.

“This is especially frustrating because this bill would address a nonpartisan issue.

“The disclosure loophole that this bill would fix is being exploited by groups across the political spectrum. Ultimately, this bill benefits not one party or another but the citizens of our state. They deserve to know where the money is coming from in political campaigns.

“Instead of playing political games and masquerading them as campaign finance reform, let’s get busy reforming our campaign financing process so we can shine a bright light on players from across the political spectrum who are trying to stay in the shadows.”

Background: http://sdc.wastateleg.org/billig/2016/02/18/billigs-campaign-transparency-bill-blocked-in-the-senate/

 

E News- Town Hall Meeting on Saturday!

March 7th, 2017|

It’s hard to believe, but we are now halfway through this 105-day legislative session. Tomorrow represents a big deadline with the “House of Origin” cut-off. All Senate bills not passed out of the Senate by 5 pm tomorrow are dead for this year unless they are directly related to the budget.

Spokane Town Hall

I hope you can join my seatmates and me this Saturday at our town hall in Spokane. Town halls provide an open forum where we can hear directly from you about the issues that matter to you most and answer your questions. We will cover education funding, transportation, tax fairness, human services, health care, and more.

Town Hall Meeting Details:

  • Saturday, March 11, from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  • Washington Cracker Factory/Terrain, 304 W Pacific Ave.

Keep in Touch

I hope you can join us for a discussion at next week’s town hall, but you don’t have to wait to see me in person to get in touch. If you have a comment or question, feel free to contact me at any time.

You can email me at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or call me at 360-786-7604.

Onward!

3rd District Legislators to host town hall in Spokane

March 1st, 2017|

Who: State Sen. Andy Billig, Rep. Timm Ormsby and Rep. Marcus Riccelli

What: Town hall meeting

When: Saturday, March 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Where: Washington Cracker Factory/Terrain, 304 W Pacific Ave, Spokane

Why: This is an opportunity to speak in person with your legislators about issues important to Spokane and your community. Topics of discussion will include:

  • Fully funding education
  • Job creation
  • Mental health services
  • Transportation improvements
  • Protecting the social safety net
  • and answers to your questions