Another legislative cycle is upon us. The 2018 session – scheduled for 60 days – began Monday, Jan. 8, and promises to be interesting. Democrats will enjoy majorities in both the House and the Senate, but margins are thin enough that bipartisan support will be needed on many key issues.
The main priorities for both parties will be finalizing a capital budget, finding a solution to the Hirst water rights decision, and addressing McCleary and education funding. Lawmakers introduced a number of proposals on these topics, and we’ll see how legislators respond in the coming weeks.
During most sessions, WSBA supports legislative proposals initiated by WSBA Sections and approved by the Board of Governors. This year, our Bar-request legislation is Senate Bill (SB) 6040, which was proposed by the WSBA Corporate Act Revision Committee within the Business Law Section. The bill addresses electronic voting at corporate meetings under the Washington Business Corporation Act and would allow corporations to remotely hold shareholder meetings (similar to other leading corporate law jurisdictions, such as Delaware). A public hearing on this legislation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, and a member of the Business Law Section will testify in favor of the bill. If you’re interested in watching, please check the TVW schedule for a direct video link.
Our WSBA legislative stakeholders also have several proposals on deck this session. The Administrative Office of the Courts will prioritize technology projects, such as modernizing case management systems, and courthouse security improvements. The Office of Civil Legal Aid will request an expanded budget for additional full-time employees, and the Attorney General’s Office will introduce a number of bills related to prescription monitoring, Medicaid fraud, enhanced background checks for assault weapons, and a student loan bill of rights. As usual, this will be a busy session for all involved!
Stay tuned for regular updates throughout the session and please get in touch with any comments or questions.