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

Monthly Archives: February 2020

Spokane legislators to host town hall meeting

February 19th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – Legislators representing Spokane’s 3rd Legislative District will host a town hall on Saturday, Feb. 22, to provide an update on the 2020 legislative session in Olympia and take questions from community members.

Who: Sen. Andy Billig and Rep. Marcus Riccelli
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: Women’s Club Spokane, 1428 W. 9th Ave, Spokane

The Legislature is in the midst of a 60-day session scheduled to conclude on March 12. Lawmakers from Spokane will take questions and provide a brief update on pending legislation to address education, clean air and water, local jobs and infrastructure, health care, and many more issues.

Legislative update: Hot topics in the 2020 session

February 10th, 2020|

As we approach the halfway point of the legislative session, I wanted to share with you some of the high-profile bills we are considering.

  • Sports betting: A recent Supreme Court ruling overturned a 1992 federal act that had outlawed sports betting across the country. Two bills were introduced this session that would allow sports betting in Washington state.

    One bill would have allowed sports betting in a variety of places throughout the state. That bill was not passed out of committee in either the House or Senate, primarily due to concerns about expanding gambling so quickly and in so many different locations.

    The other bill, which is still alive, would allow the governor to negotiate a gaming compact with Washington tribes and allow sports betting in tribal casinos. According to the Washington State Constitution, any expansion of gambling requires a 60% supermajority vote in both the House and Senate – which would require broad, bipartisan support.

  • Prescription drug costs: Last year, the Legislature took a big step toward greater prescription drug cost transparency by passing a bill that sets reporting requirements and increased transparency on drug companies.

    This year, the Legislature is considering additional steps to lower the cost of life-saving drugs with SB 6088, which establishes a prescription drug affordability board to conduct cost reviews of drugs and set upper payment limits for state purchasers, and SB 6113, which will create a central insulin purchasing program.

  • Protecting your personal data: The Washington Privacy Act, which will help to protect your personal online data, is making its way through the legislative process. This bill would afford consumers new rights to access, correct, and delete their personal data. It is important that our consumer protection laws keep up as technology and innovation continue to evolve.

    Similar policies have been implemented in Europe and California. If enacted, this legislation would provide significant protections for Washington state residents and fundamentally change the way online companies and data brokers handle your personal data.

Town Hall Meeting on Feb. 22

My House seatmates and I will be hosting a 3rd Legislative District town hall meeting on February 22nd.

The Town Hall meeting will feature a brief presentation on progress in Olympia during the 2020 legislative session and time for your questions.

Date: Feb. 22
Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Location: The Woman’s Club of Spokane, 1428 W 9th Ave, Spokane, WA 99204

Legislative update: Cutoff week in Olympia

February 3rd, 2020|

The pressure starts to build this week in Olympia. If bills are not passed out of their policy committee by Friday, they will not advance this year. “Cutoff week” generates a lot of added action as citizens, lobbyists and legislators all work to keep their priority bills alive for consideration.

The deadlines are an important part of the refining process that filters the thousands of bills that are introduced each year into the couple of hundred that will actually pass into law.

Billig’s bills

In my role as the Senate Majority Leader, I find myself working on almost all major legislation so I prime-sponsor only a limited number of bills. Since my primary job is representing the people of Spokane, all of the bills I am prime-sponsoring this year were brought to me by constituents.

  • Safety Stop (SB 6208):This bill allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, so cyclists can keep their momentum and distance from cars. This means fewer dangerous interactions on our roads. Drivers may like this bill too, because it can be frustrating to pull up behind a bicyclist and wait for them to get back up to speed after coming to a full stop. It’s time to join Idaho, Oregon and other states that have adopted this common-sense law.
  • Check Out WA! (SB 6670):Currently, a program called Check Out Washington makes Discover Passes available to library card holders. This bill expands the program to all 350 libraries in Washington to allow borrowers access to millions of acres of state parks and other state public lands.
  • Right to Tribal Regalia Act (SB 6607):This bill removes barriers for cultural expression, such as an eagle feather or beads on a graduation cap, for tribal students at graduation ceremonies. A similar law is already in place in several states, including North Dakota, Montana and California. The original concern was raised by a constituent who is a member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians.

‘Inside Olympia’

I appeared on TVW’s ‘Inside Olympia’ program last week and discussed our priorities for the 2020 session. Watch a short clip here or see the entire program here.