State Legislative Report March 8

By Diana Carlen
WAWG Lobbyist

Today is the 57th day of the regular legislative session. Last Friday was another important deadline. It was the last day to consider bills from the opposite house, except initiatives and alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets. With only four days left of the regular session, the primary focus of the Legislature and Governor’s Office is to reach an agreement on a final supplemental budget.

Budget negotiators worked over the weekend, but no announcement has been made that an agreement has been reached. Practically speaking, the Legislature needs to reach an agreement by today to finish the session (sine die) on Thursday. Rumors are circulating on whether they can reach agreement by March 10, if they will need a special session, or if they will leave town without updating the current two-year operating budget.

No Further Action on Carbon Tax Initiative

While both the Senate and House have held public hearings on the carbon tax initiative (I-732), neither chamber has taken action. While language has circulated for a potential alternative to I-732 (known as 732B), an actual bill has not been formally introduced, and no hearings have been scheduled on the alternative proposal. It is doubtful that a modified version, if introduced, could get the approval of the Legislature in the next four days. If the Legislature does not take action on the original I-732, the initiative as drafted, will go on the fall ballot and voters will decide its fate.