Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friday is Last Call for Bills in Committee to move out of Committee

Friday, February 25th, is the cutoff day for bills to move out of their originating legislative committee.

4Culture has been advocating for the passage of a bill promoted by King County Executive Dow Constantine, that's House Bill 1997

HB 1997 is on the House Ways & Means agenda for Executive Session (vote), as it was the day before when it saw "No Action".
It will likely pass, but will it matter?

Tonight, February 24th, in the Senate Ways & Means Committee we had Senate Bill 5834 pass out of committee.
Senate Bill 5834.
AN ACT Relating to permitting counties to direct an existing portion of local lodging taxes to programs for arts and heritage; and amending RCW 67.28.180.

This bill extends the 2% Hotel Tax for Arts and Heritage through 2020. In 2021 when bonds this tax is paying off end the bill directs 37 and 1/2% to keep going to Arts and Heritage, and the rest, well, whatever RCW 67.28.180 covers.

SB 5834 received one amendment coming out of committee, that was to include Yakima County to keep its tax going, too. For whatever reason Senator Ed Murray keeps forgetting this detail, last year it was SB 6051 that was missing Yakima in a "clerical error".

No matter, SB 5834 is out of committee, and will move on to the Senate Rules Committee that will then place that bill on the Senate Floor Calendar. Once on the Floor, it is subject to amendments, where it could become the vessel to hold (cherry pick) items out of HB 1997, or not. Maybe it stays a single issue bill, it passes, and it least the Arts gets funding and the county gets something to invest in tourism infrastructure in 2021.

If I remember correctly, two years ago this drama played out in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on March 18th, where HB 2252 (HB 1997 without the Convention Center) went to die. That bill was replaced by SB 6116. SB 6116 died at the last minute of the 2009 session, on the Senate Floor, with the Striker Amendment stripping out Husky Stadium, 5 minutes too late.

This time I think we will see two bills go as far as either possibly can, with something passing. The "bill hostage" method just hasn't worked out so well in the past.

Tickity-Tock, cutoff deadlines are listed below.

February 25, 2011 Last day to read in committee reports from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees in house of origin.

March 7, 2011 Last day to consider bills in house of origin (5 p.m.).

March 25, 2011 Last day to read in committee reports from opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.

April 1, 2011 Last day to read in opposite house committee reports from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.

April 12, 2011* Last day to consider opposite house bills (5 p.m.) (except initiatives and alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets, differences between the houses, and matters incident to the interim and closing of the session).

April 24, 2011 Last day allowed for regular session under state constitution.

Pass something.


Becky said...

I think the issues with the House Bill is that they include the restaurant and car rental taxes which the Senate bill does not. It seems like the restaurants are ok with the continuation of their taxes as 1997 includes money for the convention center and tourism (drivers restaurant revenues?) but the car rental folks were adament that locals were impacted by the taxes and the taxes were meant to expire. If the restaurants are ok with the tax, why doesn't the Senate make an amendment to add these to their bill and this thing would fly through? Was there any opposition at the Senate hearing (assuming it's already out of committee, probably not?)

Mr Baker said...

Bills are constructed to get out of committee, or a side of the legislature. The Senate has more flexibility to add to the bill on the Senate Floor.

A striking amendment could significantly revise the bill without requiring the bill to go back to committee.

The House bill has workforce housing. It is a stretch to say that is a tourism promotion. That is there to get it out of the House, past Frank Chopp.

I will say this, things are further along this year than they had been in the past.

Mr Baker said...

HB 1997 was voted out of committee, at about 5:15pm on 2/25/2011.