Today is the fiscal cutoff, the last day fiscal committees can pass bills out of their respective committees to keep them alive, unless they are tied to one of the budgets – operating, capital and transportation. For a list of cutoff dates and a quick explanation about cutoff dates click: What is cutoff?
The House Transportation Committee finished its work on Thursday, passing bills to reform permitting, improve transit agency coordination and ensure the Washington State Department of Transportation makes use of lower-cost recycled aggregate and concrete materials.
The House Appropriations Committee will finish its work on Friday. Two of my bills had hearings in this committee. The first, House Bill 2007, would allow emergency medical service (EMS) providers to seek higher reimbursements for Medicaid patients. With rising ambulance costs, EMS agencies have come to the Legislature to seek relief through a program already being used by public hospitals. Several firefighters and first responders came to Olympia for the bill hearing to show their support.
The second bill, House Bill 1501, would authorize the state to enter into “Pay for Success” contracts with the goal of saving money in preventative social service programs. In a Pay for Success program, an investor would fund a social service with a specific intended outcome like preventing homelessness, reducing prisoner recidivism, or preventing public health epidemics. Only if a third-party evaluator can show that agreed-upon savings have been achieved does the investor qualify for a return. Pay for Success is about engaging the private sector in solving some of our biggest public challenges.
With the policy and fiscal committees behind us, it is time to turn our attention to the House floor. The full House of Representatives will be voting on many of the bills that made it out of their respective committees. We expect floor action to include:
- House Bill 1008 – to give the state auditor authority to conduct data security audits of state agencies and local governments;
- House Bill 1500 – to implement the study of higher education cost drivers; and
- House Bill 1741 – which would waive the Discover Pass fees for disabled persons.
This week Sen. Dammeier, Rep. Stambaugh, and I were privileged to host classes from Spinning Elementary and Karshner Elementary. It’s always an honor to spend time with young constituents and show them our state Capitol for the first time.
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