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!


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