Discover Pass in Legislative Holding Pattern
Like all of nature, the Washington state legislative session has its seasons. This is the season that I like to call the great congealing. It always happens right before the cutoff to hear bills in their house of origin. For instance, a bill that starts in the Senate has to make it out of the Senate by 5:00 PM on Monday, March 7. The exception to this rule--and to all the rules--is legislation that is considered necessary to implement the budget (or NTIB in legislative parlance), which never really dies. After the end of the great congealing--next Tuesday to be exact--comes the season of the furrowed brow, during which legislators grapple with the upcoming revenue forecast and ponder the intricacies of the state budget into the wee hours.
The consequence of this Monday deadline is that House and Senate Committees are meeting to furiously hear and vote out bills, and both chambers are pulling long hours getting those bills voted off their respective floors. Legislation that is considered NTIB, meanwhile, takes its turn on the bench, waiting for bills that have to observe the physical laws of Olympia to die or live to be heard another day.
That's just the situation that SB 5622 and HB 1796 find themselves in right now. In case you don't memorize bill numbers, and I expect you don't, these are the bills before the state legislature right now that authorize the Discover Pass. We're waiting until after floor cutoff for these bills to be scheduled for their next round of hearings. In the case of the House bill, it needs to be voted out of the Ways and Means committee. The Senate bill has been moved out of Natural Resources and Marine Waters and is waiting for a hearing in that chamber's Ways and Means committee before it can proceed.
So, it will be a little longer still before we can provide you with new progress on these important bills. We expect that we're going to see changes in Senate Ways and Means to address some concerns that have been brought up, but it's too early to report on the outlines of those changes.
In the near term, we invite you to enjoy the nifty FAQ we've developed to answer questions about the Discover Pass. And when things start moving apace again, you'll be the first to know.
"bill philley" on Apr 12, 2011 12:01 PM