The past few days have felt like legislative session. Dan Coyne and I have talked with dozens of legislators as we continue to work on securing an extension of the state universal communications fund. There will be two pieces of legislation introduced in January, either of which will accomplish our goal. The first is the Governor’s Broadband bill which will include several sections including a five year extension of the state fund. The second bill will be introduced at our request and will contain a ten year extension of the fund. Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver) has agreed to sponsor this bill and Rep. Norma Smith (R – Camano Island) will be the first co-sponsor. These first two sponsors are important because they establish that we have bi-partisan support for our effort and also support from veteran legislators. Both representatives are on the House committee through which our bill will have to pass and both have agreed to help us move the bill forward. There are several steps in this process, each with a deadline. Here’s a link to a website that gives more information if you would like to learn a bit more about this process. http://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Bill2Law.aspx
Our next steps include getting a sponsor for our bill in the Senate and adding more names to the list of bill sponsors. The more names the better. We’ll also be working on handouts for each company to share with their local representatives, in person if at all possible.
Legislative session begins on January 14th and we’ll be ready. Shellie Burnham will be setting up meetings for those of you who can join us in Olympia, as the group from Consolidated Communications did last year.