WITA News 10-27-16
What's New this Week
Less than two weeks out from Election Day, it appears the state House will remain Democrat controlled, with a one to three seat advantage. Currently, the Democrats hold a one seat majority.
The Senate could well stay under the control of the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC), comprised of 25 Republicans and one Democrat. The races that will determine control of the Senate are:
5th LD - Incumbent Mullet (D), challenged by Magendanz (R).
17th LD - Open seat, Wilson (R) and Probst (D).
28th LD - Incumbent O'Ban (R), challenged by Peloquin (D).
41st LD - Incumbent Litzow, challenged by Wellman (D).
At this moment, it appears that the 5th and 41st will end up in the Democrat column and the 17th and 28th will stay Republican. If my guesses and math are correct, the MCC will control the Senate 25-24.
For Governor, Inslee appears to be in position to be re-elected over challenger Bryant.
The one caveat to all of this is any down ballot impact of the Presidential race. Happy voting!
What to Expect After the Election
Right after the elections both the House and the Senate will be holding “Assembly Days” during which there will be a variety of hearings and work sessions. The current Chair of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee is considering a work session on E-Rate use here in Washington. Newly elected individuals may attend those hearings, as can anyone else, but they are not officially part of this process until after they’re sworn in when the legislative session begins in January. Also during Assembly Days the process for determining who will chair committees and who will be on those committees will begin.
We’ve recently been informed that some ports, including the Port of Whitman, are considering a bill which would give them eminent domain and expand the telecommunication wholesale law to allow all ports to get into that business. Currently only rural ports can wholesale telecommunication services. In addition we will see another PUD Retail bill. On the other side of the coin some in the telecommunications industry are considering a bill to deal with the PUDs overcharging for pole attachments and the cost of putting fiber into open trenches. I’ll be asking some of you to join me for meetings with legislators in your area to discuss these bills, or concepts, before session starts.
Given the State’s school funding challenges we can also expect to see a number of bills both closing what some would term “tax loopholes” and also creating new or expanded taxes. For example, expect to see bills increasing a wide variety of B & O tax rates.
It’s going to be a challenging session on a number of levels.
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