Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's Going On in Olympia This Week?

I write these things more for me than anyone else, so that I can know when to turn on TVW, but just in case there's someone else in the state who would find it interesting.....

You'll note that the Senate committees don't start until Wednesday, which I'd guess is a side effect of all the nonsense around the new Majority Caucus.

Monday:

The fun will be in the morning, when we see if any Democrats took Dear Leader Tom's offer to allow them to chair a committee or two.  The Senate is scheduled to convene at 12:00, and it could be one of the funnest thing you've ever seen.

At 1:30 Reuven Carlyle's new House Finance committee meets for the first time, which is immediately followed by....

At 3:30 the House Appropriations Committee will have their first hearing of the year to take a look at the Governor's budget proposal.  Her budget is fairly meaningless, but it's the beginning of the discussion, and it will be interesting to see how splitting the single Ways and Means Committee into Appropriations (chaired by Rep. Hunter) and Finance (chaired by Rep. Carlyle) changes the dynamic.

Tuesday:

The House Higher Education Committee is up at 8:00, followed by a work session of the Early Learning Committee at 1:30, the Education Committee talking about the Quality Education Council report at 1:30, and the Appropriations Committee discussing the education section of Governor Gregoire's budget at 3:30.

At 10:30 Governor Gregoire will give her last State of the State address.

Wednesday:

At 10:30 Jay Inslee gets sworn in, followed by the other new statewide elected officials.

The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee has their first meeting at 1:30, to talk about McCleary and an interesting agenda item called "Staring at a decade of budget gaps: How can state finance policy drive productivity gains in education?"  The fun will be when old committee chair Rosemary McAuliffe interacts with new committee chair Steve Litzow and it's very literally the WEA Avatar vs. the Stand for Children stand-in.

At the same time the House Higher Education Committee will be meeting in a work session to talk about their policy priorities for 2013.  The unions are on the agenda, so solidarity!

Meeting of the day might be at 3:30, when the Senate Ways and Means Committee meets for the first time.  Two of the big power players, Joe Zarelli and Lisa Brown, are gone, previous committee chair Ed Murray no longer has the gavel, and Republican Senator Andy Hill has the power.  I believe this is the year that the Senate goes first in presenting a budget, and it'll be interesting to see how bipartisan or not their proposal is.

Thursday:

The House Education Committee has a joint meeting at 8:00 with the Early Learning and Human Services Committee to talk about the WaKids kindergarten assessment,  then a regular meeting at 9:00 to have more discussion about data.  Early Learning will also be having a 9:00 work session to get an overview of early learning programs, which are meetings that I've always found interesting for the 10,000 foot overview of what's going on in the state.

Higher Education has another work session to talk about policy at 10:00.

At 3:30 House Appropriations is talking about pensions, and planning for the rest of the session.

Friday:

The Finance Committee has their second meeting at 8:00.  The Early Learning and Education Committees are both meeting at 1:30 (I'm personally interested in something that's being said about military kids during the Education Committee meeting).  That's pretty much it for the day as they break for the MLK Jr. Day Weekend.

Here on day 1 the probability of a special session is 20%, and I'll raise that number up or down as things go along.  It's going to be fun!

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