Upcoming Conference | 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 10, 2019 Register

Morning Wire: Mental Health Legislation, Constructive Disagreement, Palumbo on GMA

Next week, we release our Topical Agenda for the 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conferencecoming up on December 13th.  We’re taking some final input from stakeholders and sponsors to try to piece together the topics, sessions, and speakers that will best reflect the conversations you’ll hear during the 2019 legislative session.

If you’re interested in a group rate for the event, or if you have a suggestion for a speaker, drop me a note and let us know!  We’ll be happy to try to take care of you.

With help from Emily Boerger and Marjie High

1. New mental health legislation proposals

Described as “McCleary 2.0,” reforming and funding the mental health care system in Washington State is shaping up to be one of the major issues to be tackled during the 2019 legislative session. In anticipation of this, last week Senators Steve O’Ban, John Braun, and Randi Becker announced a series of proposals aimed at improving mental health care and addiction recovery in the state.

The series of proposed bills include creating a guardianship program for individuals that are “gravely disabled,” expanding the Re-entry Community Safety Program to include certain state hospital patients, and expanding the availability of community-based behavioral health facilities. Other proposed bills relate to improving mental health services in schools and increasing behavioral health peer support services. The full rundown on the legislation can be found here.

2.  Creating places for constructive disagreement

Regardless of what you thought about the outcome of the last few weeks’ Supreme Court hearings, it’s fair to say we’ve gone through an ugly time in our national politics.  Tom Friedman argues “We’ve moved from ‘partisanship,’ which still allowed for political compromises in the end, ‘to tribalism,’ which does not.”

Luckily, for the most part, in Washington State our politics have stayed more respectable and reasonable.  That’s a credit to our elected, civic, and media leaders, across the political spectrum.  But moving forward, it’s clear things are getting worse, not better.  So, creating spaces for constructive disagreement, where we leave the engagement with a better understanding of one another, is something we must do with intention.

3.  Task force on Public Records holds second meeting

The Legislative Task Force on Public Records is holding its second meeting today from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. During the task force’s first meeting, the focus was on legislative privilege and task force members’ key concerns related to the legislature’s responsibility in complying with the Public Records Act (PRA). According to today’s agenda, the second meeting will focus on the “value of open government.”

During our recent Convening Panel meeting ahead of our 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference, participants thought legislation related to the Public Records Act could be one of the biggest items of interest in the 2019 session, particularly if the legislature itself is lethargic on moving policy forward. You can watch today’s meeting here.

4. Re-Wire Policy Conference early bird rates expiring soon

Our 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference is coming up quickly on December 13, 2018. Like the Washington State Wire, our Re-Wire Policy Conference is a non-partisan, policy agnostic platform for civil, civic discourse on policy, politics, and political economy and who couldn’t use a little more of that, right?

Here’s a sample of what you missed last year. Our Convening Panel is composed of a diverse, engaged group of thought leaders and policy experts working to make this year even better. Early bird rates are set to end Wednesday, so register soon to join us and save a few bucks while you can.

5. “GMA is breaking and we have to do something”

“If Seattle was taking enough growth, we’d have downward pressure on prices.” That from Sen. Guy Palumbo in a great piece over at The Urbanist. The article reviews elements of a bill Palumbo is shopping that will require a minimum level of density in a tiered model within a mile from transit hubs and along transit corridors.

While Seattle has increased density at a greater rate than any other major US city, according to a Sightline report, 1/3rd of Seattle’s land area actually lost population since 1970. Palumbo argues this is why, in part, that cities should be mandated by the state to take density in parts of the city where current zoning is driving growth into the unincorporated areas.