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

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Join us for a telephone town hall on Feb. 12

February 8th, 2019|

Sen. Billig and Reps. Ormsby and Riccelli of the 3rd Legislative District will give a brief update on the 2019 legislative session on Tuesday.

Who: State Sen. Andy Billig, State Reps. Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli What: Telephone town hall
When: Tuesday, February 12, 6 – 7 p.m.

The majority of the live town hall discussion will focus on answering questions directly from constituents. Under the telephone town hall format, thousands of constituents will receive automatically generated telephone calls to their homes in the 3rd Legislative District at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 12. Constituents may ask a question by pressing *3 on their phones during the call. A volunteer screener will take their question, and the legislators will answer as many questions as they can get through during the one-hour call.

Those constituents whose questions are not addressed during the live call have the option to leave a voicemail for the legislators with their question or comment. Constituents who do not automatically receive a call may join the conversation beginning at 6 p.m. on Feb. 12 by calling 877-229-8493 and entering the ID code 116276 after the prompt. Those with mobile phone numbers can sign up online to ensure they receive a call on Feb. 12.

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    Remote testimony, early bill action & support for clean energy

Remote testimony, early bill action & support for clean energy

February 5th, 2019|

Last week the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee (the committee that oversees the administration of the Senate) approved a plan I put forward in conjunction with Sen. Mike Padden to make the Senate’s remote testimony pilot project permanent and to expand it. The Washington State Senate is one of only a handful of legislative chambers in the country that regularly allows remote testimony.

Early action on the Senate floor

The full Senate took its first significant votes of the session last Wednesday. A measure to clarify Initiative 940, a voter initiative that updated Washington’s deadly force statute, passed unanimously. Gov. Inslee will sign this important public safety legislation today.

The Senate also adopted a Joint Resolution that codifies the Legislature’s new code of conduct. The goal of this new code of conduct and the policies that support it is to provide a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for everyone who works in, or visits, the Legislature. The new policy has been developed over the past year by a team of staff, lawmakers and others who work in and around the Legislature.

Support for clean energy

As always, I enjoy having constituents from Spokane visit us in Olympia. Among the many visits last week was this group of 27 Spokane residents who came to the Capitol to advocate for the passage of SB 5116, the 100 percent clean energy bill. The bill passed out of the Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and now heads to the Ways & Means Committee.

Did you know?

Spokane County is home to a Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA), established by the Legislature in 2007. The HSSA provides grants for Spokane researchers pursuing innovative solutions to society’s most pressing public health concerns like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), diabetes, substance addiction, and infectious diseases. Find out more about the HSSA here. I have teamed up with Sen. Jeff Holy on SB 5569, which will extend the program for 20 more years.

State Senate expands remote testimony program

January 29th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate has approved a bipartisan proposal from Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) and Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) to make permanent and expand a program that further opens public access to state government by allowing remote video testimony in legislative hearings.

In recent years, a Senate pilot project developed a system enabling people across the state to testify over high-speed internet connections for a limited number of committee hearings. The proposal approved on Tuesday by the Senate Facilities & Operations Committee will make this system permanent and expand its use.

In addition to the existing program becoming permanent, it will expand this year. Starting in 2019, the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee will become the first legislative panel to offer remote testimony for every hearing.

“Technology offers us an opportunity to open up the doors of government to more people across the state,” said Billig. “Everyone should feel like they can have their voice heard in Olympia, regardless of where you live.”

The proposal also calls for further study to identify the next steps in the program’s expansion.

In 2018, remote testimony was used in 21 hearings. There are now 16 available sites throughout the state offering remote connections. People have testified remotely from cities such as Ellensburg, Pasco, Spokane, Wenatchee and Walla Walla.

“Our democracy is stronger when more people are involved, and this offers another method to weigh in on pertinent issues without driving to Olympia,” Billig said.

Available remote testimony sites:

Bellevue College
Bellingham Technical College
Central Washington University
Clark College (Vancouver)
Columbia Basin College (Pasco)
Confluence Technology Center (Wenatchee)
Everett Community College
North Eastern Washington ESD (Spokane)
Peninsula College (Port Angeles)
Skagit Valley College (Mt. Vernon)
Spokane Community College Newport
Spokane Community College
Spokane Falls Community College
Walla Walla Community College
Washington State University – Spokane
Wenatchee Valley College

Spokane comes to Olympia

January 28th, 2019|

We are starting the third week of the legislative session and still very much in the committee phase when bills receive initial hearings to see if they have enough support to advance to the Senate floor for a full vote. There have already been 685 bills introduced in the Senate alone; 674 in the House. This is also a time of the session with a lot of constituent visits. I come away from these meetings with a better understanding of the issues impacting our community. This week I met with the students from Eastern Washington University’s School of Social Work, high school students, educators from local school districts, small business owners, and local realtors from Spokane.

Celebrating Early Learning


Earlier this month, I was honored to receive the Crayon Award from the Early Learning Action Alliance for our work on expanding access to high quality early learning opportunities in Washington state. Child brain development research and in depth cost-benefit studies have shown that investing in high-quality early learning is one of the smartest choices our state can make for our children and our future.

Priority Bills

I wanted to highlight a priority piece of legislation that can help people prepare for their long-term care costs and live with dignity through their senior years. The Long-Term Care Trust Act is a bipartisan bill that would set up a public long-term care benefit that Washington workers would pay into, and eventually benefit from later in life to deal with age-related issues, chronic illness, or disability. The number of seniors living in Washington is growing rapidly, making up 15 percent of the entire population. The Trust Act will also strengthen our state’s finances by slowing the growth of Medicaid and preserving our limited dollars for those who need it the most.

Kicking off the 2019 session

January 18th, 2019|

On Monday, we welcomed our newly-elected members to the Senate and hit the ground running! This year, I will be serving on the Ways & Means, Environment, Energy and Technology, and Rules Committees in addition to my role as Senate Majority Leader. I dive into some of the goals and challenges facing the Legislature in this TVW interview from the first day of session. 

Billig’s Bills

Typically the Majority Leader only prime sponsors a few bills since, in effect, I will have a hand in working on every bill moving through the Senate. However, I will be introducing a couple of bills that are particularly important to Spokane, including a bill that will increase the safety of oil trains that pass through Spokane and a bill to help reduce property crime. More details forthcoming in a future newsletter after the bills start their journey through the legislative process.

Welcome to the team

We are happy to have Morgan Rockey join our office as our 2019 session intern. Morgan is a junior studying political economics at the University of Washington. She is originally from Elma, Washington, where both her parents work for the school district. At the UW, she is involved in the Greek community and has worked as an instructor and mentor to first-year students.

Keep in touch

I am honored to represent Spokane in the Legislature and encourage you to stay in touch with our office throughout the session while we are in Olympia. You can reach me by email at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at (360) 786-7604.

Onward!

Andy

Countdown to the 2019 Legislative Session

January 4th, 2019|

Happy New Year! The 2019 legislative session begins on January 14. In case you missed it, I explain more about my new role as Senate Majority Leader, our priorities for the session, and the Legislative Class of 2019 in this recent op-ed in the Spokesman Review.

Welcome to Team Billig

I am pleased to announce that Kate Dinnison has recently joined our team as a Legislative Assistant. Kate was born and raised in the 3rd Legislative District and is a graduate of Lewis and Clark High School. She recently worked on a local campaign after graduating with a degree in International Relations from King’s College, London.

Apply to be a page in Olympia!

If you know a high school student who is interested in learning about civics and government through a hands-on program in Olympia, please direct them to find out more about the Washington State Senate Page Program and apply here.

Keep in touch

It is an honor to represent Spokane, and I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity for everyone in our state. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, ideas or questions you may have during the upcoming legislative session or any time. You can reach me by email at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at (509) 209-2427.

Onward!
Andy


Billig to become deputy majority leader

November 14th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – As Democrats take majority control of the Washington State Senate, Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, will become the Deputy Majority Leader when the Legislature convenes in 2018.  As Deputy Majority Leader, Billig will be the number-two person on the Democratic leadership team, helping to set the agenda and guide policy in the state Senate. The Senate Democratic Caucus met this afternoon to affirm the leadership posts and finalize committee assignments.

“I am humbled to have the continued support of my colleagues as we move into the majority and govern in the Senate,” Billig said. “There is a lot work left to be done as we head into the next legislative session, including passing a capital budget. I will continue working with my colleagues to move our state forward with policies that provide opportunities and build prosperity for every Washington family.”

Billig will also continue to serve on the Senate Ways & Means, Rules, and Early Learning & K-12 Education committees.

“As Deputy Leader, I am fortunate to work on a range of issues that affect my constituents in Spokane and people across the state,” Billig said. “I am particularly excited to continue working on the Ways & Means Committee to ensure that we pass a responsible budget that will give individuals and families an equal opportunity to succeed.”

Democrats gained a one-seat majority in the Senate after winning a special election earlier this month in the 45th Legislative District. With Democrats back in the majority, they now have the power to set the agenda, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for votes.

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    E-newsletter – Back in Olympia, trying to land the Boeing 777x

E-newsletter – Back in Olympia, trying to land the Boeing 777x

November 16th, 2013|

Landing the 777x

On very short notice, Governor Inslee last week called a special legislative session to consider a package of bills to ensure that the Boeing Company will build the new 777x and its composite wings in Washington State. There were three key parts of the package:

1. Extension of current preferential tax rates for aerospace manufacturing.

2. Expansion of workforce training programs, particularly focused on carbon fiber composite manufacturing.

3. A comprehensive transportation revenue package to increase investment in maintenance and improvements to our transportation infrastructure.

We passed legislation to accomplish the first two items (preferential tax rates and workforce training). I voted in support of both bills. While I am often skeptical of increasing tax preferences, this was an extension of preferences already in place and already proven to deliver $3 in direct revenue for the state for every $1 in tax break.

By landing the 777x production in our state, we retain 20,000 jobs from the current 777 line plus add 10,000 direct additional jobs with the new 777x. In addition, there are many more jobs retained and created from the downstream manufacturing suppliers all over the state, including the Spokane area.

We were not able to pass the third piece of the package, a transportation investment plan. This transportation plan is critical to Boeing and to the entire state. I remain optimistic that we will be able to continue negotiations and arrive at a bipartisan transportation package before the end of the year.

Team Billig needs you!

We are hiring for our session aide position. This two month job in our Olympia office during the 2014 session is a great opportunity to serve our community and learn about the legislative process. Here’s a link to the job description. If you are eager to join our team, please submit your resume and a letter of interest via e-mail to paul.dillon@leg.wa.gov.

Next Mobile Office

We’ve received excellent feedback during our first two 3rd LD Mobile Office events. This is an excellent opportunity to chat informally with your Legislators, ask questions, or provide input on issues that are important to you.

Please join us tomorrow at our third and final mobile office before the 2014 session:

Wednesday, November 13th
Northeast Community Center
4001 N. Cook
3:30-5:00pm (drop-in anytime)

Keeping In Touch

Please don’t hesitate to contact our office with questions or comments at any time. If you have feedback, I’d like 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, please send them to my website at http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/billig/and click on the link to “Sign up for my e-newsletter” – I’ll be glad to keep them in the loop!

Onward!

Andy

Sen. Billig statement on passing of Speaker Tom Foley

October 18th, 2013|

Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, released the following statement today on the passing of former Speaker of the House Tom Foley:

"I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former House Speaker Tom Foley. U.S. Representative Foley represented Spokane and the rest of the 5th Congressional District with honor for three decades, during which he was a champion for agriculture, food security for struggling families, and economic development. He built bridges across the aisle and worked in a bipartisan fashion to get things done for his constituents. As a legislator, I aspire to follow Speaker Foley’s example of dignified and effective service on behalf of our community."

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For interviews, contact Sen. Andy Billig at 509-209-2427

For more information, contact Alex Bond at 360-786-7853

Billig Named to Thrive by Five Washington Board of Directors

September 16th, 2013|

State Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane), a member of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, has been named to the Thrive by Five Washington Board of Directors. Seattle-based Thrive is the state’s leading public-private partnership for early learning.

Billig, a first-term senator, made a name for himself during the 2013 legislative session as a champion for children, sponsoring two successful bills that expanded opportunities for children through quality early learning programs and a quality foster care system. One bill strengthened the state’s largest early learning program, Working Connections Child Care, which delivers safe, high-quality early learning opportunities for children from low-income families and helps their parents get back to work. The other bill directed that every attempt be made to keep siblings together in the foster care system.

"The evidence is clear that early learning is the best investment in our future that our state can make," said Billig. "Thrive by Five Washington is doing significant and hard work with state and community partners to create a quality early learning system across our state. I look forward to being part of an organization that is fiercely committed to making sure every child has the opportunity for a great start in school and life."

In addition to his work as a state senator, Billig is the co-owner and former president and general manager of the Spokane Indians baseball team. Billig lives in Spokane with his daughter.

Billig is one of four legislators on the Thrive board. He joins Sen. Steve Litzow, chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee; Rep. Ruth Kagi, chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee; and Rep. Maureen Walsh, ranking minority member of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee.

The 35-member Thrive board is an active and committed group of state, community, business and philanthropic leaders. Members serve three-year terms. See full board list.
Thrive by Five Washington and the Foundation for Early Learning recently announced a merger to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

About Thrive by Five Washington

Founded in 2006 by Washington state businesses and foundations, Thrive by Five Washington is the state’s leading public-private partnership for early learning works and most closely with the Department of Early Learning and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to implement the state’s 10-year Early Learning Plan. With racial equity as a driving force, Thrive focuses on three strategic initiatives that are creating a long-term statewide commitment to early learning and helping more families have the information and support they need to help their children thrive in school and life. Those initiatives include deepening parent and caregiver knowledge of child development through the "Love. Talk. Play." campaign for families of infants of toddlers; developing a high-quality home visiting system to serve at-risk families; and building and mobilizing state and local partnerships. www.thrivebyfivewa.org