This week my goal was to get thirty signatures on our bill. That effort was interrupted by Governor Inslee’s press conference where he announced his broadband bill. WITA is one of the few organizations that has been involved in drafting this bill and so I was invited to attend. After the formal presentations, and after the cameras had been turned off, I took the opportunity to talk with reporters about some of their questions. Which resulted in at least one camera being turned back on.
Then it was back to gathering signatures. The process of making legislation is designed to be ponderous and time consuming to weed out frivolous bills. The hearing process and session deadlines make the process even more challenging which is why only a small percentage of bills get to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Only a legislator can introduce legislation which means state agencies and the Governor have to find someone to sponsor their ideas, just like everyone else.
Rep. Sharon Wylie (D – Vancouver) is sponsoring the legislation we need to extend the State Universal Communications Fund. Rep. Norma Smith (R – Camano Island) is the first co-sponsor. Rep. Smith’s district includes Whidbey Island and she’s the most senior member Republican member of the committee which will hear our bill.
By late Thursday we had gathered two dozen signatures including almost everyone who represents one of our members, two-thirds of the members of the committee which will hear the bill in the House, seven members of the Appropriations committee which will also hear the bill and the House Majority Leader. It’s a good mix of Republicans and Democrats, all of whom have voted on and supported this issue in the past. Instead of pursuing a few more signatures I decided to “drop” the bill a day early to ensure that it makes it onto the House Bill Introductions sheet this Monday. That will enable us to give out a specific bill number during out meetings with legislators. Besides, there are only twenty-four lines on the signature sheet so I added one more signature for a total of twenty-five and called it good.
This coming Monday and Tuesday we will have a chance to meet with new members to the legislators, along with some of our old friends, to ensure their support for the bill.