Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good work advocates!

You showed up and we're so proud! There were more than 100 people at Wednesday's public hearing for SHB 1997 - possibly the best attended hearing we've ever had for an arts/heritage bill. United in their support of the bill were representatives from labor, low income housing, construction unions, restaurant and hotel associations, current and former politicians (Republican and Democrat alike), and dozens of arts supporters (touting their yellow scarves). The overwhelmingly positive testimony lasted over an hour, and was gracefully chaired by a major arts and heritage champion Ed Murray. Only a few people were in opposition to the bill, and all three that testified against the bill were representing car rental companies.

So what's next for SHB 1997?

1) Today was the last public hearing for the bill. Now the bill goes to Executive Session where the Ways and Means committee will vote. If your Senator is on the Ways and Means Committee, please write them today to urge their support when the bill is considered in Executive Session.

2) If the bill is voted on favorably in this Executive Session it will move to a full Senate vote on the floor. This is a big deal, every Senator in the state will get to vote on the issue.

3) If the bill is voted on favorably on the floor, any amendments that are made to the bill in the Senate, would need to be approved by the House of Representatives during a process called "reconciliation".

4) Finally, the bill will go to Governor Gregoire for signing.

Work is not done, but the heavy lifting of advocates having to make their way to Olympia for hearings is complete. Thanks to all who came to this or other hearings in the process. Letter writing/phone calling and communication with your legislators is still appreciated.

It ain't over till it's over, but we have a lot to be proud of so far!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This is It!


Advocates, we need you as much as ever. Our LAST PUBLIC HEARING (woo hoo!) is scheduled and we need everyone and anyone to show up, sign in and be present. This is the most important action you can take to help save arts and heritage funding. If this is a basketball game, we're in the last 5 minutes, and the hometown crowd needs to jump to it's feet. This is our last chance to show up en mass and show our legislators who's lives/economies/communities/jobs they're dealing with.

Senate Ways & Means hearing on SHB 1997
THIS Wednesday,  03/30/11,  1:30 pm 
J.A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Rm 4 - Olympia

Plan to arrive in Olympia around 1:15 to sign in. We don't know yet where we are on agenda, so plan to stay as late as 5pm if possible (if you have to leave early, that's okay though... signing in is a great help).

Need a ride? Email us at advocate4culture@gmail.com
We'll be leaving the Pioneer Square neighborhood (in Seattle) around 11:30 a.m. and hope to be back no later than 6:30 p.m. BE THERE!

If you cannot attend, please write or call the members of the committee hearing the bill and urge them to support SHB 1997. They will likely vote on it in the next few days. The clock is ticking! Save arts and heritage in King County TODAY! 


Saturday, March 26, 2011

No news just may be good news


SHB 1997 is waiting to be considered by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means Committee and SSB 5834 is awaiting a vote in the House Committee on Ways and Means. We will of course let you know if things start looking really good or really bad.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IN THE MEANTIME?

1) Keep the pressure on our legislators, so they vote favorably for these bills, each time they have an opportunity to do so. If you haven't lately (or ever) please write, call and send emails, and attend meetings or town hall events or parties for them and urge them to keep arts and heritage in King County alive by voting YEA for SSB 5834 and SHB 1997.

2) Let's educate ourselves on the issues in and around these two bills so we can write and respond to legislators, friends, and the media with confidence.

3) Let's respond to incorrect, negative media by commenting on blogs, writing letters to the editor and calling in to radio programs. We need to dispel myths about these bills and about who we are. Take down the stereotypes of lazy, livin-on-the-dole artists, reprogram the notion that the only people that care about history and preservation are retired people with nothing better to do. Lets remind legislators and the public that we are tax paying, home-owning, grocery-buying, citizens that spend much of our days working very hard to draw tourists to our region and make our communities stronger.

There have been some negative pushes in the press lately that are simply not true. We will try to attack these with facts. If you don't feel confident... read up, or simply write or call in response of the arts and heritage component of the bill and speak from the heart. You don't have to know everything. All you have to know is how you feel about 4Cutlure getting supported and passed THIS YEAR. It doesn't have to be much. Just "I actually thing SHB 1997 is a great idea and it's important to me."

We will post an FAQ in the next day or two with some of the common misconceptions and negative talking points in the press and how we suggest countering them. Until then... assume no news is good news.

Stay active and we’ll keep you posted on the latest!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Air: Advocates Call KUOW

This Thursday, Steve Scher's show "Weekday" on KUOW (94.9 FM), will be about legislation that supports arts and heritage in King County including SHB 1997 and SSB 5834.

Please call and either leave a pre-recorded message or ask to be on-air during the show.

This is a great opportunity to tell the public why arts and heritage funding is important, including: The arts and heritage industry in King County creates jobs, we foster tourism, we draw a strong work force to our region, we make King County a place we want to live, work, invest and play. Tell the world why culture matters to you!

TIPS:
Turn off your radio (there is a delay), be brief and focus on one message.

CALL BEFORE 10 AM TO LEAVE A PRE-RECORDED MESSAGE:
206.543.KUOW / 800.289.KUOW

CALL DURING THE SHOW TO BE ON-AIR:
206.543.KUOW / 800.289.KUOW


Thanks and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Join us in Olympia for a public hearing this Monday!

Arts and Heritage advocates are needed this to sign up and/or testify in support of SSB 5834. This public hearing is a great opportunity to let our Representatives know that why culture is so valuable to King County, and how it serves as an economic engine for all of Washington State. 


Join us in Olympia!
  • WHEN: Monday, March 14th at 3:30 pm
  • WHERE: Ways & Means Committee, John L. O'Brien Building, House Hearing Room A
  • GETTING THERE: Contact us, we can give you a ride.


Sponsored by Senators Murray, Litzow, McAuliffe, Nelson, Hill, White, Kohl-Welles, Fain and Eide, SSB 5834 enables "Permitting counties to direct an existing portion of local lodging taxes to programs for arts and heritage." 



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Change of Plans: Attend Town Hall Meetings this Saturday!

We just contacted Jim Kelly, Executive Director at 4Culture to find out the latest with SHB 1997. He told us that the bill is being moved from the Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Committee to Senate Ways and Means Committee. We think this is great news as we have more support for arts and heritage among members of Ways and Means. 

WHAT CAN WE DO NOW TO MOVE THINGS FORWARD?
  1. ATTEND one of the many Town Hall Meetings hosted by your legislators this weekend - March 12th. Two of the most critical legislators for our bills, Speaker Frank Chopp and Senator Ed Murray, will be hosting a Town Hall on Capitol Hill at 2:00pm [click here for details]. This is a great opportunity for advocates to ask them to come to an agreement on the best way to save arts and heritage in King County. Even if they don't represent your district, lets pack the house!
  2. WRITE your legislators, even if you have already, and urge them to support SHB 1997 and SSB 5834, which both secure the future of 4Culture. 
  3. WATCH this blog for updates about public hearings that will scheduled for these bills. We will need advocates to join us in Olympia. We can offer rides.
Check out these tips on contacting your legislators. Below are a few interesting facts to keep in mind as well:
  • SHB 1997 and SSB 5834 provide economic development, jobs, and support tourism related activities, which draw visitors to all of Washington State and benefit all of it's residents. 
  • Culture is an economic driver. A recent study shows arts and culture generate $1.75 billion dollars in revenue for Washington businesses. 
  • We need to save 4Culture this year or we have a 90% cut in funding that will amount to the agency shutting it's doors and an end of support.
  • Regarding the reticence of senators to pass SHB 1997 - these taxes were planned and plotted during some of the most flush years our state has ever seen. We know they were scheduled to end, but we are now in the deepest recession our state has seen and could use some innovation and stimulation to create jobs and get us out of this mess.
Thanks all!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Arts and Heritage Advocates Statewide are Needed - Reach Out!

Can SHB 1997 make it out of the senate committee of economic development, trade and innovation? Honestly, we don't know. Last year, we were in this same position - a bill passed in the Senate, and another in the House, bills that did not match up. Both bills died.

We need state legislators to work together and come up with a plan that will save 4Culture!
What can we do? Do our best to support the upcoming hearing for SHB 1997.

SHB 1997 has been scheduled for a hearing in the 
Senate Economic Development and Trade & Innovation Committee on Thursday, March 10th at 1:30 PM. The committee is mostly non-King County senators. There is speculation that senators are likely to vote down any bills that are seen as extending taxes of any kind.  It is critical that we reach out to this committee about why this legislation must be passed this session.  
Talking points (what we should start getting adamant or even angry about):

  • SHB 1997 provides economic development and supports tourism related activities that will draw visitors to all of Washington State. Plus the projects outlined in the bill will not only stimulate our economy but also retain and create jobs for citizens in and out of King County.
  • We need to save 4Culture this year or we have a 90% cut in funding that will amount to the agency shutting it's doors and an end of support.
  • Regarding the reticence of senators to pass SHB 1997 - these taxes were planned and plotted during some of the most flush years our state has ever seen. We know they were scheduled to end, but we are now in the deepest recession our state has seen and could use some innovation and stimulation to create jobs and get us out of this mess.
  • The temporary re-authorization of the restaurant tax (which by the way, only amounts to a $0.25 tax on a $50 meal) is supported by key leaders in the restaurant and tourism industry. Why? because it will create possibly thousands of jobs in the region as we build and then maintain an expanded convention center. And because with the expanded convention center, we can attract more tourists, who will stay in hotels and eat in restaurants and pour money into our state coffers to pay for other services we need.
  • Re Housing: hmmm... maybe this could be built for the minimum-wage earning work force (artists, custodians, servers, managers, bartenders, and service people) who make this tourism industry plausible.
We don't know why this bill didn't go straight to ways and means, but we face a HUGE hurdle getting this bill to pass this Senate committee. Please act. Please write and call your senators. Please go to the town halls in your area this weekend and speak up for SHB 1997. This is go go go time, if there ever was one.
If you are a resident of any of the areas listed below, or know arts and heritage advocates who are, we urge you to contact these Senators [contact info here], who serve on the Economic Development and Trade & Innovation Committee, and ask for their support of SHB 1997!  Otherwise, please write your own Senator and ask them to pull whatever strings they have to see that this bill is passed. It is a time to call in favors.

The message is simple, these legislators voted positively for SSB 5834 so you can THANK THEM for their recent support of SSB 5834 and let them know, that SHB 1997 deserves their support too.

  • Jim Kastama (D) District 25, Puyallup (CHAIR)
  • Maralyn Chase (D) District 32, Edmonds, Kenmore, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park (VICE CHAIR)
  • Brian Hatfield (D) District 19, Wahkiakum, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Cowlitz Counties, Longview, Westport
  • Janea Holmquist Newbry  (R) District 13, Ellensburg, Yakima, Moses Lake area
  • Derek Kilmer (D) District 26, Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Fox Island 
  • Paull Shin (D) District 21, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Everett
  • Joseph Zarelli (R) District 18, Clark County 
These two Senators on the committee voted against SSB 5834. If this is your legislator, please write them and say you are disappointed they voted against SSB 5834, but that they can right the wrong by supporting SHB 1997:

Michael Baumgartner (R) District 6, Spokane area (RANKING MINORITY LEADER)

Doug Ericksen (R) District 42, Whatcom County 

Monday, March 7, 2011


HB 1997 is moving fast... so fast it's picked up an additional letter. The bill now known as SHB 1997 is waiting to prove it's virtues to the Senate and has been scheduled for a public hearing. We need legislators to hear again how important this bill is to us. 

Please join us in Olympia this Thursday, March 10th at 1:30 pm  to advocate for SHB 1997 in the Senate Committee, Economic Development, Trade and Innovation, in the Cherberg Building, Hearing Room 3. Contact us if you need a ride.  


If you can't make it down to Olympia on Thursday, please call or email your Senator [Find contact information HERE]. Ask him/her to support SHB 1997. This is the Senate's first chance to review this bill that originated in the House - and we need all Senators to support this legislation!






Half way there - we're rockin!

Advocates. You've rocked it. You spoke and legislators listened. And now we're about half way done, getting a bill passed that will save 4Culture.


How have we rocked it? Both the House (HB 1997) and the Senate (SB 5834) passed the bills they were considering. This is because our political champions have teed up good plans, and advocates are supporting like crazy. Legislators are listening to you. They are responding to constituents emails, from the floor, during the debate (we have proof they read your emails!). They feel a connection to arts and heritage advocates and are responding. It's been awesome!


Now what?
Both bills offer a plan that will solve the 4Culture funding crisis, but the plans are different. Now we need the House and the Senate to come to agreement on what plan will be best. 


How a Bill Becomes a Law
How? 
Now the bills will swap places to be heard in the opposite chamber. We need at least one of these bills to make it through a Ways and Means Committee, Rules Committee and pass a Floor Vote in the opposite house.


Which bill do we prefer? Advocate4Culture supports both bills, because both solve a crisis for our local cultural communities. HB 1997 provides approximately $10 million more for 4Culture's programs in the years between 2012-2021, which would be great (we are double checking this figure, but we think this is true). So we will push most strongly for this approach. We will continue to show support for both, because we need at least one of them to pass. 


What can I do?
Stay tuned. We expect each of these bills to have public hearings in the next week or two. We will need another round of trips to Olympia, and letter writing, and phone calling when we know more about that.


Thank you for coming this far. Thank you for all you've done. Thank you for all you will do. We have come this far because of you. We will change the future with our opinions, our plans, our voices and our actions.

Friday, March 4, 2011

SHB 1997 Passes the House!

It's after 10 p.m. on Friday night and we've just watched the debate of SHB 1997 on the floor of the House. We can take a moment to celebrate...SHB 1997 passed the House!

Stay tuned for what we need to do next to push ahead. For now, congratulations advocates and supportive legislators, on a job well done!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Advocates: We need you again - NOW!

How a Bill Becomes a Law


The two bills that can save 4Culture (HB 1997 and SB 5834) have made it through two committees and are now ready for full floor votes, perhaps by the end of the week!

We know many of you have contacted your legislators already to ask them to support arts and heritage funding through 4Culture. We need you to contact them again and urge them to support these bills when they are asked to vote on them.

These bills have been moving through the legislative process quickly. We know it's because legislators are hearing support from you. If we are successful at this stage, the bills will move to the opposite chamber for review through their committees. We need to keep the pressure on at each step of the process. Thank you for writing and calling, and encouraging your contacts to do the same.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS:
Ask your Representatives to VOTE YES and support HB 1997 and your Senator to support SB 5834. Tell them why arts and heritage in King County matters to you. CLICK HERE to find their contact information.


SAMPLE TEXT
Dear Representative ____:
I contacted you recently, asking you to support HB 1997. As you may know, the bill will be coming up for a floor vote in the next few days. Again, I urge you to please support HB 1997. This bill, which supports arts and heritage funding through 4Culture, is important to me because ___________________________.

Sincerely,
Your Name


 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Senator _____:
I contacted you recently, asking you to support SB 5834. As you may know, the bill will be coming up for a floor vote in the next few days. Again, I urge you to please support SB 5834. This bill, which supports arts and heritage funding through 4Culture, is important to me because ___________________________.

Sincerely,
Your Name



Thank YOU!