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Senate forms bipartisan economic recovery committee

The Washington State Senate is forming a bipartisan committee to address Washington State’s long-term economic recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig announced.

Set to convene its first meeting in June, the committee will make recommendations on COVID-19 recovery legislation ahead of a potential special session, and the 2021 legislative session next year.

It’s hard to imagine a single aspect of day-to-day life in Washington that will not be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and we must respond swiftly to its devastating impacts on workers, businesses and households with solutions that will foster a robust and sustained recovery,” Billig said. “This bipartisan committee will lay the groundwork and help lead our state in addressing the economic impacts of the virus through effective and innovative solutions to this unprecedented challenge.”

The committee will be chaired by Sen. David Frockt and Republican Senator Randi Becker will serve as vice chair. The partisan composition of the seven-member committee includes four Democrats and three Republicans. Democratic senators will include Sens. Manka Dhingra, Christine Rolfes and Rebecca Saldana. The Republicans joining Becker on the committee are Sen. Tim Sheldon and another yet-to-be-determined member.

The purpose of this select committee is to look deeply at the ways in which the pandemic has structurally changed our state and regional economies, and to make recommendations on how we can come out stronger on the other side for workers and the businesses that employ them,” Frockt said in a statement. “The goal is to have this committee work together, without partisanship, in order to drive innovative, forward-looking ideas that can help the people in every corner of this state recover and prosper.”

The near-term agenda for the committee includes convening work sessions to hear from experts in a variety of fields, analyzing the effectiveness of recovery efforts in other states, and identifying strategies to boost Washington’s economy.

The Senate’s Facilities and Operations Committee voted yesterday to give the go ahead for the committee’s official formation.

The Wire has reached out to staff from both the Democratic and Republican House caucuses to find out whether a similar effort among House legislators will take place. 

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