Yesterday was the cutoff date for the House and Senate to agree to move bills out of committee.
The House Ways & Means Committee did not act yesterday on Substitute Senate Bill 5834 (SSB 5834) that would have permitted King County to continue directing an existing portion of local lodging taxes to programs for arts and heritage via 4Culture. So SSB 5834 died yesterday in committee.
The Senate Ways & Means Committee voted by roll call yesterday on Substitute House Bill 1997 (SHB 1997) that would have provided economic development in King County by funding tourism promotion, workforce housing, art and heritage programs (via 4Culture) and community development. With 22 committee members, a bill must receive 12 yes signatures to pass the committee. SHB 1997 received 11 yes signatures and 9 no signatures yesterday. Two committee members, Senators Hatfield and Tom, were absent. Without the necessary 12 signatures, SHB 1997 died yesterday in committee.
SSB 5834 and SHB 1997 are not the only avenues for working with the Legislature to secure the future of 4Culture funding. State and County elected officials are already working with 4Culture staff, board and champions to determine the next best steps. While these bills may have "died" in committee yesterday, there are scenarios where they could be resurrected, and their provisions are still very much alive, including future funding for 4Culture.
While it is frustrating to have come so close to getting SHB 1997 out of committee, the advocacy actions by King County's cultural community have not been in vain. It is unlikely the bill would have even had a chance to pass the committee without our advocacy. Legislators and their staffs have stated on multiple occasions that the timely, strategic and high-volume actions of the arts and heritage community. No one in Olympia is questioning the commitment and political will of our community to ensure 4Culture's future.
Thank you for everything you have done to act on that commitment, and for being ready and willing to do it again as soon as next steps are clear.