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Session moves into final month, bills reach governor’s desk

Legislation is beginning to pile up on the governor’s desk after passing the House and Senate. Gov. Jay Inslee signed 12 bills Thursday during his first public bill action of the 2023 session.

Among the bills signed Thursday was SB 5729, ensuring that Washingtonians with diabetes will continue to pay no more than $35 per month for insulin. Sen. Karen Keiser sponsored the bill and another like it last year, intended to temporary limit insulin pricing while the United States Congress worked to pass federal controls. Congress has yet to act, so Washington state continues to do the right thing by demanding a fair cost for a common, non-proprietary, life-saving medication.

Review current and pending bill action on the governor’s website.

The Legislature this week cleared the March 29 policy committee cut-off, and is quickly approaching the April 4 fiscal committee cut-off. Those fiscal committees will pull long hours the next several days to vote out dozens of bills. On Saturday, April 1, for example, the House Appropriations Committee has at least 40 bills up for public hearing. The Senate Ways & Means Committee has more than 100 bills on the agenda for next Monday and Tuesday. After that, committees will only hear bills considered necessary to implement the budget.

The House and Senate released their remaining budget proposals this week and started hearings and votes to move them forward. On Wednesday, the Senate passed their proposed operating budget on a 40-9 vote. The House released its operating budget proposal this past Monday, and is expected to vote on April 3. Budget writers will now begin intense negotiations to iron out differences and craft a final two-year budget bill. So far, legislators are well-aligned on priorities such as special education, climate, housing, behavioral health and other urgent issues.

On transportation, legislators in both chambers are proposing increased investments to combat the spike in traffic-related fatalities and increase roadway and pedestrian safety. Both proposals also include funding for new ferries and ferry workforce initiatives, and would use revenue from the state’s new cap-and-invest program to electrify state ferries, expand transit and support various active transportation projects that make it safe for people to walk, roll or bike in their communities.

To preview which bills are on the floor calendars, you can look up the House Floor Activity Report or Senate Floor Activity Report. From these calendars you can find links to fiscal notes and proposed amendments. TVW is a reliable source for all the live action. The legislative session is scheduled to end April 23.


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