Check back next week for a new Q&A series on the blog we’re calling “Huskies on the Hill.”
Each week, the series will feature a UW alum who is serving in state government.
Here is a sneak peek at the questions they’ll be answering:
1. What motivated you to run for office?
2. What are your legislative priorities this session?
3. What has been the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment for you so far this session?
4. What do you think the long-term outlook is for Higher Education in our state?
5. How do you spend your time when the legislature is not in session?
Today (March 20) the Revenue Forecast was released. The forecast is prepared by the state’s nonpartisan Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, and used by both the executive and legislative branches in budget preparation.
Budget writers in the House and Senate can now finish up their respective proposals, as the overall picture moves into focus.
For more detail, read the UW Office of Planning & Budgeting’s brief on the forecast (PDF).
Watch the forecast report on TVW:
Overall, revenues were up in the 2011-13 Biennium, and down in the 2013-15 Biennium.
Yesterday (March 13) was the “floor cutoff” in the State Legislature. Bills that didn’t make it out of their chamber of origin are now considered “dead.” Of course, bills can still be revived in Olympia-speak if they are “NTIB,” which means “necessary to implement the budget.”
TVW has a brief summary of several high-profile bills that made it out alive.
So what happens next? As The News Tribune reports:
Starting today, long days of floor action are over in the Legislature, and attention turns to the state budget.
Legislative members will now also be spending time studying proposals in committee that passed the opposite chamber before the cutoff.
Capitol Hallway leading to the House Floor.
Today is Day 54 of the 105-day 2013 session of the State Legislature, putting us just past the midway point.
For most of the week, members spent their time on the floor of their respective chambers, debating and voting on bills.
The majority of the buzz, both around the Capitol and in the media, was related to a package of education bills that advanced in the State Senate.
A proposal by several State Senators to layoff several State Supreme Court Justices also made its way into the headlines.
A new Elway Poll on transportation funding is generating buzz in Olympia. The Seattle Times reports:
The poll found that 72 percent of the voters surveyed opposed a gas tax and 62 percent opposed a car tab. Those two taxes would provide most of the revenue collected under a transportation plan proposed by House Democrats.
More on the implications of the poll results:
Via the Associated Press:
A divided high court ruled 6-3 Thursday that an initiative requiring a two-thirds vote was in conflict with the state Constitution. And that lawmakers and the people of Washington would need to pass a constitutional amendment to change from a simple majority to a supermajority.
A New York Times blog reports that 54.1% of college students who enrolled in fall 2006 graduated within 6 years.
At the UW we’re proud that our graduation rate is above the national average. In fact, 79% of UW freshmen graduate within 6 years. That’s the highest percentage of any public university in the state!
We’re also proud that the average time Huskies spend earning their degree is 4.3 years.
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Welcome to the end of week six in the 2013 regular session.
Aside from being almost one-third of the way through the 105-day session, today (Feb. 22) has another important significance.
After today, policy bills that haven’t yet had a hearing in committee, will be singing the swan song. Sure, there are ways to resuscitate certain budget-related bills, but the curtain call for the majority of unheard bills will come today.