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January 26, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Joel’s Law, revenue forecasts, rules and transportation: things Democrats said today

Update, 9:15 p.m.:

We told you (below) about the Democrats’ ideas earlier Tuesday for the Senate Rules Committee.

Well … the committee will grow from 18 to 21 members, according to a release from the Majority Coalition Caucus.

Two positions go to Democrats Tim Sheldon, of Potlatch, (who caucuses with Republicans) and Andy Billig, of Spokane. Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, will also be on the committee.

Original post:

OLYMPIA —Democrats held a media availability Monday and shed light on what their caucus members are focusing on:

1. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said that “Joel’s Law” (House Bill 1258), which advocates for judicial review of mental-health cases and a bill regarding the supplemental budget (House Bill 1105)  could be taken up on the House floor Thursday.

2. Senate Republicans are working on a transportation package that Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, said needs to be more balanced. She explained: “Balanced, meaning you’re taking a look at environmental issues, you’re taking a look at labor issues, you’re taking a look at business needs.” Nelson said points of emphasis will be on how much money is directed to multi-modal transportation, the total amount for the package, and how much money is spent on maintenance for new projects.

3.  Sullivan said the bill regarding the supplemental budget would add an early forecast to the existing March one in odd-year sessions. He said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, was concerned that a February forecast isn’t as good to rely on because March is when new Medicaid numbers come out.

“The February forecast will help, you’re getting new numbers,” Sullivan said.  “But that March forecast is also there.”

Bills with bipartisan support have already been proposed to move the quarterly revenue forecast up to Feb. 20 instead of March 20.

4. Membership of the Senate’s Rules Committee is still not set but Nelson said there should be discussion about it on the floor Wednesday, and she hopes for an agreement this week. Two resolutions from Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, have been proposed to expand the committee. Senate Resolution 8605 would expand the 17-member committee to 18 members lawmakers, and Senate Resolution 8604 would go bigger, to  19.

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