Another great update from Ruth Peterson, administrative assistant to Senator John Braun.
The Senate is on the Floor Today How do you tell what bills will be Debated?
People ask me about what happens on the floor and how to tell when a bill will go to the floor for a vote. If you happen to be able to monitor the Senate Floor session today, you can find out exactly what bills will be debated. First, the floor session begins at 1:30. You can watch the entire thing live on TVW - available on a smart TV (streaming), on your computer, and I believe on TV, as well. They say a prayer and the pledge. While they may then start debating and voting on bills, they also may go directly to caucus. That’s when the two sides go into their private rooms to discuss the strategy to either pass or fight bills that will be coming to the floor today. That caucus time can last 15 minutes or it can last a couple of hours, depending on how contentious the bills are. You just have to stand by and wait for them to resume their floor time. But how do you tell what bills are coming to the floor? Go to the following link: https://app.leg.wa.gov/far/Senate/Calendar/Report?id=2906 This is a list of all bills that have come out of the Rules Committee. Every bill there could go to the floor at any time. However, they may not decide to consider a bill just because it’s on the list. It’s one step closer to being voted on, but it isn’t a done deal. Every time there is a floor session, the majority leadership (the Democrats currently have the majority) gets together and decides which of the bills from that list will go to the floor. Eight people make that decision out of the entire Senate. They create what is called “Order of Consideration.” If you look near the top of the page at the above link, you will find a drop down box that says “current working calendars”, If you have a phone or a smaller-than-a-desktop electronic device, it might be under the Menu option. If you look at the menu or click on the current working calendar link, you will see an option for "Order of Consideration". Sometime shortly before 1:30, you will find a list of the bills being considered today. But wait, that’s not all! Be aware that they can make up another order of consideration at any time they are on the floor. It might be at the beginning or hours into debate, but until that gavel goes down that afternoon (or evening, or 2:00 am), they can release another order of consideration. If you click on it now (assuming you are reading this before 1:30 today), you will see the bills that were considered last Wed. You will see list #3, so those are bills that were considered that day. One last note: Sometimes they put something on the Order of Consideration but end up not considering it. Maybe they find out they do not have the votes. I have no idea why those decisions are made - that decision is made by the eight people who make up the majority leadership team. And the minority party never has a seat in the meeting where they decide what goes to the floor. Hopefully this helps. And apologies for any typos. I got up late and have to get to work