We should start calling this the Midday Wire… With news breaking every Tuesday morning that is directly relevant to the briefing we send you, it takes us a little time to get it all cobbled together to hit send. Today, we readied lots of coverage on the House budgets, only to have the Senate budgets released late yesterday evening. So, pardon the increasingly misnamed title of our now early afternoon email. But, thanks for reading our stuff. We appreciate it.
With help from Michael Goldberg
and Madeline Shannon
1. Budgets are out with modest differences in scope
“Go home” operating budgets are now out with relatively modest space between the two chambers. The House Democratic Caucus released its proposals for the supplemental capital budget, operating budget, and transportation budget Monday, highlighting priorities like affordable housing, childcare, health care access, and special needs transportation systems. I-976 especially presented a challenge to House Democratic Caucus leaders who put the transportation budget together, as the initiative is expected to cause a $453 million shortfall.
The Senate’s operating budget, out this morning, also includes funds for homelessness. The Senate includes $100m to address the climiate crisis, $100m to help get the UW Behavioral Health Hospital off the ground, and $115m to address homelessness. These all come from one-time funds, meaning there won’t be a budget hit next year.
2. Five bills to track in committee this week
The deadline for reading in committee reports from the opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees is on Friday. Ahead of the Friday cutoff, the Wire reached out to insiders to find out what bills – apart from the budget – are attracting the most attention.
The five bills insiders are keeping an eye on include: the death penalty repeal, the Boeing/aerospace manufacturing tax repeal, a high-capacity magazines limit, a King County excise tax on businesses, and a regulatory framework for overseeing facial recognition technology in the public sector. Reporter Michael Goldberg breaks down the moving parts in these bills and what to know about each.
3. Q&A: TVW President Renee Radcliff Sinlcair on the network’s past, present and future
Renee Radcliff Sinclair is gearing up for two anniversaries at the moment. Next week it will be five years since she became President and CEO of TVW, and the network is nearing its 25 year anniversary on the air waves. Throughout its history, TVW has given Washingtonians unfiltered access to state government through gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Legislature, Supreme Court, state agency boards and more.
In this Q&A with Sinclair, she talks about the evolution of TVW, how the network stays true to its core mission, and where’s she’s steering the ship going forward. She is a uniquely qualified leader for the organization, having served in the legislature in the 1990s, and as a senior lobbyist in the tech sector afterwards. Her civic experience, and commitment to informed civic dialog is exactly what we need at TVW for the next 25 years.
4. Wire Insider: Rep. Andrew Barkis
Rep. Andrew Barkis represents the 2nd Legislative District. In this edition of “Wire Insider,” Rep. Barkis joined us to discuss housing legislation he’s working on this session. Several of Barkis’s housing-related bills have passed off the floor with bipartisan support and are scheduled for public hearings this week.
HB 2687 would update requirements for countywide planning to the Growth Management Act to include specific metrics for affordable housing planning. Another bill, HB 2673, passed unanimously in the House and would restore infill development to a categorical exemption under SEPA that cities or counties can choose to adopt.
5. Sports wagering bill making progress
I’m not alone in saying I’m looking forward to placing a modest and reasonable sum of money on Gonzaga to win the NCAA championship – and doing it here in Washington State. Since a 2018 US Supreme Court ruling helped pave the way for that, legislation heard Monday morning which would authorize sports wagering in tribal casinos, should tribes wish to offer such gaming. Non-tribal entities would not be permitted to offer such services.
The bill passed the House and now sits in Senate Ways and Means. Political winds favor passage this session, though it will still be some time until you can place your bets on Gonzaga. Tribes will have to individual amend their compacts with the State of Washington, a process that can take months from start to finish.