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

E-News

Leading from Spokane

November 20th, 2018|

Senate Majority Leader

It has been an eventful couple of weeks with a momentous election that saw the Washington State Senate Democratic majority increase, followed by my colleagues in the Senate choosing me to become the new Senate Majority Leader.

It is an honor to serve our state as Majority Leader. Of course, serving the constituents of the 3rd Legislative District will be my priority no matter what position I hold in the Senate and I am proud to be the second Democratic Majority Leader from Spokane. Former Spokane state legislator Lisa Brown was majority leader from 2005-13.

As Majority Leader, my job will be to lead our caucus and help set the agenda for the Senate. I will work closely with leadership in the House and governor’s office as well as across the aisle to serve all Washingtonians. I am eager to build on the success we had in 2018 and humbled to lead this diverse and talented group of senators. We recognize that bipartisanship and viewpoints from every corner of Washington are crucial in moving our state forward.

I am excited to join my colleagues in getting to work right away to put people first and help every Washingtonian to move forward toward opportunity and prosperity.

Prepping for 2019

The Senate met recently in Olympia for Senate Committee Assembly Days, where legislative committees meet to prepare for the upcoming session. While in Olympia, I spoke with Austin Jenkins on TVW’s Inside Olympia to discuss the upcoming session.

Come be a page in Olympia!

Being a page at the legislature is a great opportunity for any high school student to see how their state government works. Not to mention, it looks great on a resume! You can find more information and apply to page in my office here.

Keep in touch

It is an incredible honor to represent you, and 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 (509) 209-2427.

Onward!

Andy

Diving deeper in our community

August 24th, 2018|

While summer is the interim season between legislative sessions, there is still a lot of work to do. I use this time to prepare for the next legislative session, diving deeper into community issues, meeting with constituents and getting out to see our district in action.

I Did the Time

I recently met with Layne Pavey, founder of I Did the Time, an advocacy organization that provides housing and other services to individuals re-entering society after incarceration. I am impressed by her passion and commitment to reducing recidivism. Reducing prison recidivism is a worthy goal as it helps people improve their lives, increases public safety and saves tax payer money.

Youth, Family, Adult Connections (YFA Connections)

Sen. Billig with Cathy Doran and Tom Cresswell, YFA Connections.

I also had the opportunity to visit the YFA Connection’s Crisis Residential Center, where they provide temporary shelter and crisis counseling for youth ages 12 through 17. YFA Connection’s mission is to provide education, prevention, intervention and treatment services to youth, families and adults in conflict or crisis. I was grateful for the opportunity to take a closer look at the critical services they are providing for families in our community.

 

 

 

Interim Committee Meetings

On top of my regular legislative committees (Ways & Means, Early Learning & K-12 Education, and Rules committees), I also serve on several additional special legislative committees that meet during the interim:

  • Senate Facilities & Operations Committee
  • Joint Select Committee on Early Achievers (co-chair)
  • Washington State Institute for Public Policy Board (co-chair)
  • Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Workgroup

As members of a part-time Legislature, we often encounter highly complex problems that require in-depth understanding and broad public input that cannot be completed while we’re in session. During interim, these committees can take the time to explore a subject more deeply.

Issues for 2019

Do you have an issue or policy idea that we need to consider in the 2019 legislative session? Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comment, idea or question.

You can reach me by email at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at (509) 209-2427.

Onward!
Andy

Sine Die!

March 9th, 2018|

The last day of the legislative session is called ‘Sine Die,’ Latin for ‘without day,’ because the Legislature adjourns without setting a day to reconvene. We started the session with the goal of finishing in 60 days and are on pace to accomplish that goal later today.

Step 3 of ‘How a bill becomes a law’
This year, I introduced twelve prime-sponsored bills, and four have successfully made the journey all the way through the Legislature to the governor’s desk. In previous newsletters, we told the story of SB 6345 which placed a ten-year moratorium on fracking. Unfortunately, this bill was a casualty of the legislative process as it failed to make it out of the House before the “opposite house of origin cut-off” deadline. Though some bills will be shelved until next session, there is still a lot of good, new policy to celebrate.

  • SB 5991 – the DISCLOSE Act, which will increase transparency and reduce the use of dark money in Washington state elections.
  • SB 6257 – improves the efficiency and operation of early intervention services for children with disabilities.
  • SB 6414 –  requires that public transit boards of directors proportionally reflect the communities they represent.
  • SB 6493 – improves transparency and accountability for intercollegiate athletics programs at state universities if they run a deficit.

I also helped lead the effort to pass bills that expand and improve access to voting for people across Washington state, including:

  • same-day voter registration;
  • automatic voter registration;
  • pre-registration for 16-17 year old ‘future voters’; and
  • the Washington Voting Rights Act, which expands representation to disenfranchised voters.

Operating budget

Sen. Billig serving on the operating budget conference committee on Wednesday.

I am pleased to report that earlier today we passed a responsible and balanced operating budget that:

  • fully funds basic education and meets the requirements of the McCleary court decision;
  • invests in crucial mental health services;
  • fully funds the State Need Grant to help low income students attend college; and
  • lowers property taxes for homeowners and businesses throughout our state.

Please click here to review the budget documents and summaries.

Bipartisanship
Although there is occasionally friction between the two sides of the aisle, the majority of the policies we enact are developed with bipartisan input and support. I sat down with Sen. Ann Rivers, a Republican from Vancouver, to discuss bipartisanship in the Washington State Legislature on the League of Education Voters’ podcast. You can listen to our discussion here.

Keep in touch
As I head home to Spokane, I am proud of what we have accomplished on behalf of the 3rd district and the entire state, and I look forward to what we can continue to accomplish together in the future.

It is an incredible honor to represent you, and I value your input as we work to improve opportunity and prosperity in 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.

Onward!

Andy

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