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Sen. Andy Billig Newsroom

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    E News – Check and check – capital budget and DISCLOSE Act pass the Senate!

E News – Check and check – capital budget and DISCLOSE Act pass the Senate!

Capital budget passed!

I am pleased to announce that the capital construction budget, blocked from a vote since last year, finally passed the Legislature. The capital budget was the top priority for our new Senate majority and funds construction projects that will generate 19,000 jobs statewide.

In the Spokane area alone, the state will fund $125 million for local projects including:

  • The East Central Community Center dental clinic
  • The YWCA Family Justice Center
  • Emmanuel Life Center
  • Eastern Washington University science building
  • Spokane Community College – Main Building South Wing renovation
  • Dental clinic at Providence Sacred Heart’s campus

DISCLOSE Act


The DISCLOSE Act, a critical campaign finance transparency bill, passed the Senate floor with bipartisan support this week, taking us one step closer to shining a light on dark money in Washington state elections. After working to pass this bill for several years, it was gratifying to have the DISCLOSE Act be the very first bill to pass the Senate this year.

Campaign transparency creates informed voters, increases accountability, reduces the opportunity for corruption, and strengthens our democracy. Watch my floor speech on TVW by clicking the picture above.

Telephone town hall

Rep. Tim Ormsby, Rep. Marcus Riccelli and I will be hosting a telephone town hall on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 6:00-7:00pm to provide a legislative update and answer your questions. Thousands of constituents will receive calls that will join them in the town hall just before 6 pm on Jan. 23.

Or, you are welcome to call in to the meeting at (877) 229-8493 and enter the ID code 116276.

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

January 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Billig, Ormsby and Riccelli help pass the capital budget, investing in local jobs and infrastructure

Billig, Ormsby and Riccelli help pass the capital budget, investing in local jobs and infrastructure

OLYMPIA – The capital budget, which passed both chambers this evening, will get Washington back to work on much-needed construction and renovation projects, investing $4.3 billion in more than 1,400 projects across the state. This includes a $1 billion investment in school construction projects.

Spokane received $125 million for local projects including:

  • The East Central Community Center
  • The YWCA Family Justice Center
  • Emmanuel Life Center (kitchen)
  • Eastern Washington University (Science Center)
  • Spokane Falls Community College (Fine and Applied Arts replacement)
  • Spokane Community College (Main Building South Wing renovation)

“After months of delay, I am proud that we were able to pass this important construction and jobs package within the first two weeks of session,” said Sen. Andy Billig. “People – especially vulnerable people – have been waiting too long for state funds to tackle the homeless crisis, build schools, and improve our state’s mental health programs. Our state can now move forward making critical investments in every community that drives our economy and supports our most vulnerable.”

“I’m glad our Republican friends decided to join us in passing the capital budget,” said longtime Spokane Rep. Timm Ormsby. “It means we can finally make investments in school construction, mental health facilities and other projects throughout the state, including Spokane. We’re talking about $4.3 billion that will create 19,000 jobs in the state.”

This budget also expands dental access to more Washington residents in Spokane and statewide. Spokane will benefit from these investments by receiving:

  • A dental residency program that will provide treatment to 12,000 patients a year in our community – a majority of them Medicaid-eligible.
  • Dental clinic at Providence Sacred Heart’s campus (6 chairs)
  • New community dental clinic near Holy Family (20 chairs)

Rep. Marcus Riccelli said, “The lack of affordable and accessible dental care in our region is an ongoing problem for families in our region. This is especially true for medically-fragile adults. Our capital budget invests in much-needed dental clinic capacity grants for the Spokane area. The budget will kick start construction projects that will improve the health and wellbeing of Spokane families and students and bring jobs to all corners of our state.”

The capital budget now heads to the Governor for his signature.

January 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Billig’s campaign finance legislation passes the Senate

OLYMPIA – Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, released the following statement after the Senate passed the DISCLOSE Act (SB 5991), his signature campaign finance transparency legislation:

“The bipartisan Senate vote tonight on the DISCLOSE Act takes us one step closer to shining a light on dark money in Washington state elections. Campaign transparency increases accountability, reduces the opportunity for corruption and strengthens our democracy.

“The disclosure loophole that this bill will fix is being exploited by groups across the political spectrum. Ultimately, this bill benefits not one party or another but the citizens of our state. Most importantly, transparency of the source of money in elections creates more informed voters, which ultimately results in a healthier democracy.”

SB 5991 passed on a 32-17 vote and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

January 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|

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.

Onward!

Andy

January 16th, 2018|E-News|

E News – Let’s get started!

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

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.

Onward!

Andy

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.

Onward!

Andy

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|