State Legislature Gavels in a New Session with Focus on Funding

Washington Capitol

State lawmakers began their 2017 session with a flurry of activity, with budgetary issues a main priority for legislators, who are under pressure to come up with a plan for funding basic education. Fiscal committees held hearings on Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2017-2019 budget. Policy committees opened hearings on statewide civil legal aid services, and legislators introduced bills on issues ranging from water rights to administrative procedures. Newly-elected members of the Legislature, statewide offices, and the Supreme Court were sworn in.

Governor begins second term urging lawmakers to work together
Gov. Inslee gave his second inaugural address on Wednesday, Jan. 11 and reminded lawmakers to work cohesively to address critical statewide issues including mental health and homelessness, in addition to education funding.

Watch Gov. Inslee’s address on TVW.

Senate hears Bar-request bills
The Senate Law and Justice Committee heard public testimony regarding two Bar-request bills on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Michael Hutchings, representing the Corporate Act Revisions Committee (CARC) of WSBA’s Business Law Section, testified in support of Senate Bill 5011. Prime-sponsored by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-43 this bill seeks to amend Washington’s Business Corporation Act to make our state more business-friendly through process efficiencies and modernizing of outdated statutory provisions.

Michael Carrico, representing WSBA’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Section (RPPT), testified in support of SB 5012. Also prime-sponsored by Sen. Pedersen, this bill seeks to create a nonjudicial process for amending or replacing irrevocable trust documents.

Other sponsors of these bills include Senate Law and Justice Committee Chair Mike Padden, R-4, and senators David Frockt, D-46 and Joe Fain, R-47.

Watch the testimony on TVW.

WSBA LAMP Section-supported bills heard
Two proposals regarding military service members and their families were heard in both the House and Senate judiciary committees this week.

Supported by WSBA’s Legal Assistance to Military Personnel Section (LAMP), House Bill 1055 creates an office of pro bono legal services within the Attorney General’s office dedicated to military service members and their families. HB 1055 is prime-sponsored by Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-28; the Senate companion, SB 5021, is prime-sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-28.

Watch House testimony on TVW.
Watch Senate testimony on TVW.

Be sure to visit the WSBA Legislative Affairs web page for more information.