Wednesday morning a delegation of 80 Eastern Washington business, education, healthcare and community leaders will converge in Olympia to advocate for issues that affect local business. As we meet with elected officials, staff and agency representatives this week, we’ll use our 2016 GSI State Legislative Priority Agenda as a guide, but we anticipate discussion on a few new hot button issues as well.
Looming large on the legislature’s agenda will be the state Department of Correction’s miscalculation of prison sentences – an error that led to the too-early release of as many as 3,200 prisoners since 2002. A software-coding error has been blamed for the miscalculation, and steps are being taken to ensure such errors don’t happen in the future. But people want to know why the problem wasn’t solved when it was first discovered in 2012, and Legislature is demanding change. We’ll keep close tabs on this issue as it develops.
Our priority agenda contains other important topics of discussion, including funding directives of the McCleary decision, legislation to keep our charter schools open, climate change policies and health care proposals, minimum wage initiatives, and a tax-credit increase to strengthen Washington state’s motion picture and film industry.
This year’s session is considered a short session which means, barring any surprises, session will run 60 days. By comparison, last year’s session was scheduled to go 105 days, but actually concluded on the 176th day. There’s no requirement to pass any supplemental budgets this year, but modifications will be made to last year’s major budgets – such as transportation and general operation – which is why it’s important for us to come together as a region and present a unified voice to our legislators.
We’re in the capital through Friday and will update you over the next few days to let you know the news from Olympia. But the work doesn’t stop there. Keep your eyes open for regular briefings as the session progresses.
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