Last week, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington) told the Times that transportation was on the back burner ($) until the legislature handled the education funding shortfall. In a session where even Republicans are on board with a large new Sound Transit tax authorization, and with deadlines for non-budget bills to escape committee fast approaching, I found this quite worrisome. Additional transit projects are too important to lose because of brinksmanship over an unrelated issue.
With HB 1180 – the pure ST authorization bill – still in the Finance Committee and this Friday a deadline for non-budget bills to leave committee, I asked Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle (D-Ballard) what was going to happen. And rest assured that he has our back:
We expect that SHB 1180 is exempt from the fiscal committee cutoff and we will have confirmation on Monday [today] of that ruling. If it is ruled otherwise by counsel, I assure you that I will move a version of the bill out of Finance prior to the deadline on Friday. The Majority Leader’s statement was more about timing and the focus on McCleary and transportation than the mechanics of committee deadlines. We will not allow, in any way, the bill to fail based on committee deadlines. I am working closely with Reps. Fey, Farrell, Walkinshaw, Clibborn and others to maintain the progress.
He really couldn’t have made that reply any clearer.
Speaker Chopp’s office has not yet replied to my email.