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Elephant Update

Happy New Year!

Our first meeting of 2023 is Tuesday, January 10th, 6-8 pm at the Dallesport Community Center. Derek Flint, Rep. Newhouse's assistant will be in attendance.

From the office of Rep. Newhouse, an Op-Ed on Fox News about the new WOTUS rule:


Time to renew your membership!


Influencing Olympia 2023 - Overview of the Legislative Process

Latest from Ruth Peterson

Note: I am sending out the revised version of class modules from our Influencing Olympia Class. I'll continue doing this over the next few weeks. Some of you have read much of this information already, but I've added information about this year's bills, so please do not forgo scanning through the information I provide. Use it as a refresher course. Please find at least 3 or 4 other people to share this with, as well. We need more people who are knowledgeable about the legislative process!

How Bills Become Laws – Process Overview

Washington’s two-year cycles

The legislative sessions in WA State are two-year cycles. The first year, which is the long session, always takes place in odd-numbered years and is primarily focused on the budget. Hundreds of other bills are considered and passed, but the budget is the critical legislation. If a budget doesn’t pass, the government will shut down at the end of the fiscal year in July.

The second year, which takes place on even numbered years, is shorter in duration. While there is usually a small supplemental budget bill passed, the s

hort session focuses on other policies. A bill that is considered in the long session but didn’t pass will come back alive in the second session to be considered further.

After the short session, all bills that did not pass during the biennium are dead. A lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief when a bill they dislike finally dies. But that is never the end of the story. To be considered again, a new bill must be drafted – with a new bill number – the next year during the first session of the next biennium. For bills that make substantive changes to the law, it often takes many bienniums, and many versions of the bill, to pass. That is why you must always be vigilant.

What happens after a bill is “dropped”

After a bill is drafted and entered into the system (the term is “dropped”), a number is assigned to it. All bills sponsored by Representatives are House Bills (HB) and are given numbers in the 1000-2000 range.

The bills introduced by Senators are Senate Bills (SB) and are given numbers in the 5000 – 6000 range. Each bill must go through a committee hearing in the chamber where it was introduced. There is also special numbering for Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions. In the House, those are numbered in the 4000 range, and in the Senate, they are given numbers beginning at 8000.

If the bill passes out of committee, it then goes to the floor of that chamber for a vote. Then it goes through the same process in the other chamber. Only when it successfully passes after each step does it go to the Governor’s desk for a signature.

We will cover each step in later modules, along with how to track the bills through the steps and when the timing is best for contacting your legislators about bills.

Session begins January 9th, 2023

The next legislative session will begin on January 9, 2023. Because it’s an odd-numbered year, all bills must be newly drafted and introduced. They must go through the entire legislative process. However, since bills can be introduced starting in December, we do have some bills that have already been assigned numbers.

You can find a list of those pre-filed bills here:

If you wish to read the bill, you can click on the bill number, and it will take you to the bill history page. If you look about halfway down the page, you will find a link to the Original Bill. Click on that link and it will take you to the actual bill.

Here are some bills that have already been introduced: SJR 8202 This bill would amend the State Constitution to address reproductive freedom (enshrining abortion into the Constitution). SB 5082 Removing Advisory Votes from the ballot. SB 5072 Advancing equity in programs for highly capable students. (expect lots of “equity” bills this year.) Bills that would have a positive impact: SJR 8200 Amending the Constitution so that any road-usage tax (mileage tax) collected would have to go towards roads rather than the general budget. SB 5068 Dedicating the state sales tax on motor vehicles to transportation rather than the general budget. SB 5037 Ensuring that the Washington state energy code may not prohibit the use of natural gas in buildings.

What’s next in this course?

As we move through the next lessons, you will learn how to get further information about these and other bills. The more you learn about this process, the more you will be able to persuade those around you when it comes to elections.

The best way to solve our issues in this state is to have a Republican majority. But if people look around at the bad things that are happening and just blame the government in general, they will never know that there is a huge difference between the two parties and what they are trying to accomplish. By tracking bills, understanding the damaging or positive impact they have, and knowing who is sponsoring them, you will be able to influence more than just Olympia – you will be able to influence your neighbors, as well.

We are the Elephants in the Room

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