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

Sen. Andy Billig Newsroom

E News – A bit of Spokane in Olympia

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.



January 16th, 2018|E-News|

E News – Let’s get started!


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.



January 9th, 2018|E-News, Uncategorized|

E News- New Majority, New Opportunities

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.



December 11th, 2017|E-News|

Billig to become deputy majority leader

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.

November 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

3rd District legislators respond to shooting at Freeman High School

OLYMPIA – Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, and Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, released the following statement in response to the tragic shooting today at Freeman High School:

“We are shocked and saddened by the shooting that occurred this morning at Freeman High School. Our hearts break for the family and loved ones of the student whose life was tragically cut short. As parents ourselves, we cannot imagine the pain and uncertainty experienced by the families directly affected by this event.

“We stand with the Freeman High School community as they recover and begin the difficult healing process.

“We have contacted the school district’s superintendent and offered our condolences and desire to provide support and help.

“We extend our thanks to our first responders and school personnel who valiantly responded to this dangerous situation.”


September 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Mobile Office Sep. 13th

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.



September 11th, 2017|E-News, Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Billig: Senate Republicans block construction budget, millions of dollars for Spokane are at stake

Billig: Senate Republicans block construction budget, millions of dollars for Spokane are at stake

OLYMPIA – Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, issued this statement today at the conclusion of the Legislature’s third special session and in response to the Senate Republicans’ refusal to allow a vote on the capital construction budget.

“This has been an unfortunate ending to an otherwise productive legislative session that included historic investments in K-12 education and early learning.

“There was full agreement on the capital budget and it was certain to pass the Senate with a near unanimous majority. The House passed it near unanimously on June 30. All that was needed, was for the Senate Republican leadership to allow a floor vote.

“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have decided to block this year’s capital budget because of an unrelated water rights issue. That water rights bill is also important but it should not be artificially connected to the capital budget.

“In addition, there have been numerous opportunities to reach a compromise on the water issue, yet Senate Republicans have insisted on taking a ‘my way or the highway’ approach.

“This brinksmanship by the Senate Republicans has serious consequences. The capital budget would have created more than 19,000 construction jobs, funneled more than $1 billion into public school construction to lower class sizes, and invested $800 million in our public universities and colleges.

“In the Spokane area alone, millions of dollars in investments will be lost for projects and improvements important to our community including:

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

“In the end, people – especially vulnerable people – are the ones who are going to suffer the most. Money in this budget was dedicated to tackle the homeless crisis, get kids off the streets, and improve our state’s mental health programs.

“Even though the legislative session officially concludes today, I encourage my colleagues across the aisle to recognize that these projects are too important to our state to be innocent victims of the Senate GOP’s political gamesmanship.

“We have a viable compromise solution to the water rights issue and an agreed upon capital budget that drives our economy and supports our most vulnerable. We can and should pass both by the end of the year.”

July 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Education plan passes Senate, finally!

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.



July 1st, 2017|E-News, Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Spokane lawmakers secure $15 million for regional medical education

Spokane lawmakers secure $15 million for regional medical education

OLYMPIA – The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University and the WWAMI Regional Medical Education program will receive a total of $15 million in state funding following the passage of the state’s operating budget that is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee late tonight.

“In Eastern Washington and throughout the state, we are facing a shortage of primary care doctors,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “It is critical we fund our region’s medical education institutions so we can ensure that families in rural, underserved areas have the same access to quality care as their urban neighbors.”

WSU’s medical school will admit an inaugural class of 60 first-year medical students starting August 2017 with the goal of producing more primary care physicians for rural and underserved areas in the state. Students will serve in clinics in the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Everett and Spokane following their first two years of instruction and the inaugural class will be made up entirely of Washington state residents.

“This is a big win for Eastern Washington,” said Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. “Not only does this keep talented young doctors in Washington, it will be a big economic driver, expanding our economy with increased care and medical research dollars.”

The $10 million secured for WSU’s medical expansion will support the 60 first-year and second-year students.

“This is another important step to getting people access to healthcare for themselves and their families regardless of where in the state they live,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D- Spokane. “I am proud to have worked so hard with the late Dr. Floyd and his team, and Sens. Baumgartner and Billig to pass the policy bill that paved the way for a WSU medical school. I’m also proud of the hard work of the Spokane delegation to secure this funding for medical education for WSU and UW.”

The University of Washington’s WWAMI program will also receive $5 million in state funding. WWAMI trains and prepares physicians to care for patients and communities throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. The program has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges with the Outstanding Community Service Award and has been identified as the nation’s top primary care, family medicine and rural medicine training school.

July 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Special Session

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.



April 27th, 2017|E-News|