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

Monthly Archives: April 2017

E News- Special Session

April 27th, 2017|

Sunday was the final day of the 2017 regular legislative session and we have good news and disappointing news to report.

First, the good news. In the final days of session, we unanimously passed a significant and responsible transportation budget. This transportation budget continued funding for important Spokane investments like the North Spokane Corridor and the U-District Gateway Bridge. New funding was also included to help rebuild a pedestrian bridge over the north span of the Spokane River in Riverfront Park.

Now the disappointing news. Senate Republicans have refused to negotiate on a final operating budget, which is the largest piece of unfinished business we have left to do this year. As a result, we are in special session.

Education Policy Progress

While the overall operating budget negotiations have not begun, there is some progress being made regarding education policy. I am back in Olympia this week as one of the education leaders and we are having substantive and productive discussions.

We still have heavy lifting to do, but I remain confident that we can work together to find a solution for Washington’s 1.1 million public school students without balancing the budget on the backs of working families and small businesses. We can only do this if we work together. We have done it before and we can do it again. Stay tuned for updates on our progress throughout the special session.

Future Leaders

Last week we had the pleasure of sponsoring two pages from Spokane, Rachel Boose and Emily Polhamus. Both pages spent a week in Olympia assisting me and the rest of the Senate. They also attended Senate page school to learn about our state government and civic education. Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious and I’m grateful they were able to join us.

Keep in Touch

If you have a comment, idea or question, please let me know. I would love to hear from you! You can email me at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or call me at 360-786-7604.

Onward!

Andy

E News- Bottom of the 9th

April 17th, 2017|

Working Collaboratively

We are starting the final week of the 2017 legislative session.

In the past two weeks, we have passed meaningful and bipartisan legislation, including:

  • Capital and Transportation budgets.
  • House Bill 1713 – providing Washington’s kids with better mental health treatment and services.
  • House Bill 1234 – a great bill for the women of Washington. It requires insurance carriers to reimburse refills for birth control for 12 months at a time instead of monthly.
  • Senate Bill 5022 – request legislation from Attorney General Bob Ferguson requiring clear debt information for student loan borrowers.
  • Senate Bill 5107 – creating greater access to high quality early learning for the kids that need it most.

Operating Budget

On the operating budget, Senate Republicans have so far refused to begin negotiations on a final budget solution. We’ve shown we can get things done when we work together and we can solve the operating budget challenge too.

That’s not to say it will be easy. Both Democrats and Republicans have proposed new taxes to balance their budget proposals. What’s different is how we choose to invest that revenue.

Currently, there is not an operating budget proposal that will muster the 50 House votes and 25 Senate votes required to go home. What’s most important is that we find a common middle ground that is fiscally responsible, makes our tax code fairer, and delivers for Washingtonians.

Keeping Your Private Info Private

Recently back in D.C., Congress voted to roll back protections that keep internet providers from selling your search history and other personal web related information. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation (SB 5919) that would block this kind of data collection in Washington state. The bill has bipartisan support and I am hopeful we can pass this bill before we adjourn so we can protect every Washingtonian’s right to privacy.

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

E News- Capital Budget: Investing in Spokane

April 3rd, 2017|

Last week, the Senate released our bipartisan 2017 capital budget. This budget is a big win for Spokane. I am proud we were able to secure funding for the following projects and improvements in the 3rd Legislative District and greater Spokane area:

  • Spokane Family Justice Center at the YWCA.
  • East Central Community Center dental clinic
  • Renovations to the south wing of Spokane Community College’s main building.
  • Honor Point Aerospace Museum
  • Peaceful Valley Spokane River boat access
  • EWU Interdisciplinary Science building

In addition to these important projects, the capital budget invests $1.1 billion in school construction and public education investments throughout the state, including $7.4 million to support the remodel work at Franklin Elementary.

The House capital budget will be released soon and I know my 3rd LD seatmates will have many of these same projects and more in the House budget proposal.

The next step will be to negotiate between the House and Senate capital budgets. I will work hard to ensure funding for these Spokane projects remain in the budget as we move toward an agreement on this year’s final capital budget.

Advocacy Matters

The Senate Republican majority’s operating budget released two weeks ago initially included a damaging provision that would exclude at-risk three year olds from the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Early learning programs, like ECEAP, provide services that are proven to change the trajectory of a child’s life.

At the public hearing on the budget, stakeholders and concerned citizens presented data and personal stories showing how this cut would be detrimental to kids, families and the state as a whole. Because of their hard work and passion, the cut was reversed.

I thought the most persuasive testimony came from Shauniece Quins who shared how ECEAP helped her and her son get back on their feet. You can watch her moving testimony by clicking here.

Foreign Donor Legislation in the News

Earlier this session, I introduced legislation to deter foreign influence in our elections. Senate Bill 5570 would require corporations donating to campaigns in Washington state to certify that their ownership is comprised of less than 50 percent foreign nationals.

While I am disappointed this bill is not moving forward this session, I am glad to see this issue is gaining national attention. Earlier this month, Stateline news of the Pew Charitable Trust reported on my efforts to tackle this problem. You can read the article by clicking here.

Thanks Cassandra!

This week, we bid farewell to our legislative intern, Cassandra Barret, who is heading back to Eastern Washington University to finish her degree.

Cassandra was a key member of Team Billig. Every day, she inspired us with her positive attitude and can-do spirit. Cassandra listened to and cared about every constituent she worked with. Thank you for all of your hard work, Cassandra! We couldn’t have done it without you!

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