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

E-News

E News – Staying alive

February 13th, 2018|

Staying alive
We have now passed two cut-off dates, and the majority of bills that were introduced will not progress any further this session.
Essentially, the legislative session is like a funnel. We started with nearly 4,000 bills introduced over 2017 and 2018 in both the House and Senate, but only about 600 will pass into law.
The next cut-off is the “House of Origin” cut-off at 5pm on Wednesday when all bills, except those necessary to implement the budget, must be out of the chamber of origin.

Health Care for Pacific Islander community
It is gratifying to have legislation pass that I know will positively impact people in the Spokane community. SB 5683, which passed the Senate last week, will help provide health care to Washington resident Pacific Islanders who were displaced as a result of the U.S. testing nuclear weapons on their islands. I was so glad that representatives of the Pacific Islander community from Spokane were in attendance as we passed this bill. Click on the picture below to read the Spokesman-Review’s coverage:

You can learn more about the Pacific Islander community’s fight for health care in this Inlander article.

Real ID Act extension
We have received a lot of questions about Washington driver’s licenses being allowed as a valid ID at airports due to the federal Real ID Act. As a result of a bill we passed last year, current regular Washington drivers licenses will be valid for airport travel until October 2020. After that date, Washington residents will be required to present either an enhanced driver’s license or passport in order to fly on domestic flights as the state comes into full compliance with the federal Real ID Act.

Keep in touch
Please keep in touch throughout the legislative session. I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in our state. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have a comment, idea or question.
You can reach me by email at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at (360) 786-7604.

Onward!
Andy

E News – School House Rock and another registered voter!

February 5th, 2018|

How a bill becomes law: Step 2

You may remember a few weeks ago, our team dropped SB 6345 in the hopper to start its legislative journey. In this week’s installment, SB 6345, a bill to impose a 10-year moratorium on fracking in Washington state, received a hearing in the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee. The hearing gave the public (and me!) the chance to testify on the bill.

The committee passed the bill to the Senate Rules Committee. Next week our story continues as little SB 6345 tries to become a law.

Does this remind you of School House Rock? Click here to watch how a bill becomes law.

Women’s healthcare bills

Last week, the Senate passed three important bills that would further women’s healthcare and protect reproductive freedom. SB 6219, SB 5912, and SB 5084 will ensure better access and comprehensive care for women.

 

 

 

 

Registering to vote!

As we work to pass a package of bills to expand voting access for eligible Washingtonians, a personal highlight for me last week was taking my daughter to register to vote on her 18th birthday. What an enjoyable intersection of work, family and citizenship!

Remember, you can register to vote online or in-person at the Spokane County Elections Office.

 

 

 

Keep in touch

Please keep in touch throughout the legislative session. I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in our state. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have a comment, idea or question.
You can reach me by email at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at (360) 786-7604.

Onward!

Andy

E News – Democracy at work!

January 29th, 2018|

Cutoff week

This is a tense week in Olympia as the first of the “cutoff” dates approaches this Friday. Any bills not passed out of a policy committee by Friday, Feb. 2 will be ineligible to be considered for the remainder of this session.

Constituents in Olympia

We love having our constituents from Spokane visit us in Olympia. Thank you to everyone who ventured across the state in the last few weeks to share their perspectives on issues that are important to our community.

We were fortunate to meet with folks from Spokane area childcare providers, ‘I Did The Time,’ Eastern Washington University, the Planned Parenthood teen council, the Spokane Symphony, Greater Spokane Incorporated, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, and many other organizations.

As your voice in Olympia, I greatly value your input as I work to improve our city and state. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, concerns or questions you may have as we progress through this short session.

Telephone town hall

I joined my 3rd Legislative District colleagues, Reps. Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli, to host a telephone town hall event that reached over 2,600 constituents! Thank you to everyone who participated and offered their thoughtful questions and comments.

If you were not able to join, you can listen to a recording of the telephone town hall meeting by clicking here.

Democracy Lobby Day

Last week I also had the pleasure to speak with citizen-advocates from Fix Democracy First and the League of Women Voters. We discussed a range of voting access and campaign finance transparency bills that we are working to pass into law this session.

Keep in touch

Please keep in touch throughout the legislative session. I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in our state. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have a comment, idea or questions.

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

Onward!

Andy

E News – A bit of Spokane in Olympia

January 16th, 2018|

Today we start the second week of the Legislative session. Early in session, we are mostly holding hearings in committee, refining bills and deciding what will move forward to the next phase of the legislative process. We will also be on the Senate floor later this week to pass a few high priority bills.

A bit of Spokane in Olympia

New to our Olympia office are handmade prints depicting some of the most iconic landmarks of the 3rd Legislative District. Crafted by Spokane artist Chris Bovey, the prints bring a little bit of Spokane to our Olympia office. It was a pleasure to meet Chris and his family on their tour of the Capitol last week, and we extend an invitation to everyone from the 3rd Legislative District to visit us in Olympia and see the prints in person!

How a bill becomes a law: Step 1

Every bill that becomes a law starts with a drop in the “hopper.” This is a picture of our team dropping SB 6345 into the hopper to start its legislative journey. The bill would place a 10-year moratorium on fracking in Washington state.

 

 

 

 

 

That voice on the radio sounds familiar

Listen to my interview with KUOW Public Radio about our priorities for the 2018 Legislative session.

 

Welcome Maggie!

We’re excited to welcome Maggie Hawk as our office’s intern this session. Maggie graduated from Shadle Park High School and is studying Cultural Anthropology at Western Washington University. She looks forward to learning more about state government, meeting Spokane community members and representing her hometown in Olympia.

 

 

 

 

Keep in touch

Please keep in touch throughout the legislative session. I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in our state. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have a comment, idea or questions.

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

Onward!

Andy

E News – Let’s get started!

January 9th, 2018|

OPENING DAY

Here we go! Welcome to day one of this short, sixty-day Legislative session. The new Senate majority, coupled with the activism and energy I have seen in Spokane over this Legislative interim, has me more motivated than ever to make meaningful progress for the people of Spokane and the entire state this session.

Priority Bills

  • One of our highest priorities is to pass the capital construction budget that will fund several critical projects in Spokane and create 19,000 jobs statewide.
  • We will take meaningful steps to increase voter access so more people can engage and participate in our democracy. These bills include SB 5110, SB 6002, and SB 6021.
  • The DISCLOSE ACT (SB 5991), which will shine light on dark money spent on elections in Washington State, is a crucial campaign finance disclosure bill that we hope to pass early in session.
  • There is bipartisan support to repeal the death penalty this year to both save money and eliminate a punishment that is applied unfairly. (SB 6052)
  • A follow up to HB 2242, our major education funding and policy legislation from last session.

Welcome Natalie

In the last newsletter, I introduced my new Legislative Assistant, Noelle, and today I am pleased to welcome Natalie Riel as our Session Aide. Natalie is from Spokane Valley and recently graduated from the University of Washington. She is excited for the opportunity to serve the people of the 3rd Legislative District in the Senate this year.

 

 

 

 

Apply to be a Page!

Do you know a high school student who would enjoy spending a week as a Senate page? We have a few page slots remaining. Page applications can be downloaded by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Keep in Touch

Please keep in touch throughout the legislative session. I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in 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- New Majority, New Opportunities

December 11th, 2017|

As we prepare for the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 8, there is a lot of positive change in Olympia. After a special election victory in the 45th Legislative District, Democrats have reclaimed the majority of the state Senate.

With these changes, I have been elected by my colleagues to serve as Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate. I will also continue to serve on the Ways & Means, Rules, and Early Learning & K-12 Education committees.

In the coming session, as the majority party, we will have the opportunity to break the gridlock we have seen the past few years and pass truly impactful, bipartisan legislation that had been blocked by the prior majority.

I am ready to hit the ground running by passing a bipartisan capital construction budget that will create 19,000 jobs statewide and fund several important projects in Spokane, and by implementing long-overdue campaign finance reforms.

K-12 Update

3rd District, Spokane, WA. Stevens Elementary.

The state Supreme Court last month largely affirmed the work the Legislature has done to meet its constitutional obligation to fully-fund basic education. The court will retain jurisdiction and monitor the K-12 funding process for the time being as the new legislation continues to be implemented. We knew the plan would need some follow-up work and I will be working with my colleagues this session to incorporate the court’s guidance in our efforts to improve the way the state funds basic education.

Welcome to the Team, Noelle!

It is bittersweet to bid farewell to Kate Burke, who served as my legislative assistant for the past few years. I am excited for her as she continues her public service as a Spokane City Councilmember but will miss the hard work and dedication she brought to our office.

With that said, I am pleased to introduce our new legislative assistant Noelle Connolly. Noelle attended University High School and graduated from Eastern Washington University. Noelle then went on to receive her master’s degree in public policy from King’s College in London.

Noelle is eager to get to work on behalf of the Spokane community and I am looking forward to a busy and rewarding session working with her. Welcome to the team, Noelle!

Keep in Touch

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

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

Onward!

Andy

E News- Mobile Office Sep. 13th

September 11th, 2017|

Mobile Office this Wednesday

Please join me, Rep. Riccelli and Rep. Ormsby at our Mobile Office this Wednesday in Spokane. As in the past, we host mobile offices to stay in touch with our constituents who may not have been able to visit us in Olympia or our district office in Spokane.

The Mobile Office is an informal event that allows for one-on-one dialogue with your legislators. There is no formal program. We simply want to give you a chance to ask questions about state government, share your priorities for Spokane, or discuss anything else on your mind relevant to our role representing you in the Legislature.

Mobile Office Meeting Details:

  • Wednesday, September 13
  • Give it a Shot – Espresso & Café – 4715 N. Market St.
  • 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Keep in Touch

I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in Spokane and across our state. If you are not able to make it to the Mobile Office to chat, do not hesitate to contact me if you have a comment, idea or question.

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

Onward!

Andy

E News- Education plan passes Senate, finally!

July 1st, 2017|

I am pleased to report that we have passed a K-12 education plan that funds our schools and delivers for Washington’s 1.1 million schoolchildren. It does so by supporting important programs aimed at closing the opportunity gap, increasing salaries and salary equity for educators so we can attract and retain the best possible teachers, and maintains local control. I was glad to serve as one of the eight negotiators who helped craft this proposal.

We also passed an operating budget tonight that closely reflects Spokane’s values. It invests in health care, increases access to high quality pre-school, and improves access to college for kids from low-income households. Additionally, it does all this without requiring cuts to our state’s safety net.

Here are a few Spokane budget highlights:

– Funding for medical education in Spokane

– Support for the Spokane River Toxics Task Force

– Significant investments for Spokane Public Schools

– Increased funding for Eastern State Hospital

This was a compromise budget, and a compromise inevitably includes parts you do not agree with. The $7.3 billion dollar investment in our schools is primarily funded by a statewide property tax. I advocated for funding sources that would have better addressed Washington’s regressive tax code.

The negotiation process was intense but I am confident that we have produced a K-12 education plan that will help every child in the state achieve their fullest potential.

For those that are interested in more detail, here are summary documents and the actual bill language for both the K-12 plan as well as the operating budget: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2017/ho1719p.asp

Keep in Touch

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

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

Onward!

Andy

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