What's New this Month
Senator Takko and Rep. DeBolt to sponsor State USF Bills
Even before session begins several members of the legislature have already helped move WITA closer to our goal of passing legislation to remove the sunset date on the State Universal Communications Program. We had hoped to get the Senate version of our bill “pre-filed” which means jumping through a number of hoops before January 8th. Senator Lisa Wellman (D – Bellevue) gave us permission to get a formal draft of our bill using language written by Rick Finnigan’s. Next we had to find sponsors for the bill. Senator Takko (D – Longview) agreed to be the prime sponsor. Senator Takko has been a strong supporter of this fund since it’s inception back in 2013 and is the only Democrat in the Senate with a WITA member in his legislative district. To ensure that the bill has bipartisan support we then asked Senator Braun (R – Chehalis) to co-sponsor the bill. Once we obtained both signatures the bill was taken to the Office of the Code Reviser and “dropped in the hopper.” (Yes, there’s really a box marked “Hopper.”)
Rep. Gael Tarleton (D – Seattle) gave us permission to get the House companion bill drafted. Dale Merten convinced Rep. Richard DeBolt (R- Centralia) to be the prime sponsor of the bill. We are not as concerned about getting a hearing for the House version of our bill so pre-filing it was not as critical. We’ll get it into the hopper by the first week of session.
The next step will be to get additional signatures on each of the bills prior to the first day of legislation session, which is January 8th. Stay tuned for more information on how Dan Coyne and Betty Buckley will work with WITA members to get this accomplished.
Our biggest challenge will be to convince Senator Reuven Carlyle (D – Seattle) to schedule our bill for a hearing. Sen. Carlyle now chairs the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee. Having a bill pre-filed with bipartisan support gives our bill, SB 6045, more substance and also gives it champions in the Senate who will work directly with the Chair to convince him to schedule it for a hearing.
Let’s hope we all have a Happy New Year that includes a successful legislative session!
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