Welcome to the fourth week of the legislative session. Friday, February 5th at 5:00 p.m. marks the first cut-off. It is critical to have policy bills out of their committees of origin, or they are declared dead. As you will recall from Health Policy News last year, policy bills are exempt from this fate if they receive the coveted designation of 'necessary to implement the budget' (NTIB). It is a hectic week for all involved with trying to move their bills out of committee and along the next step in the process, which is followed by the next cut-off Tuesday, February 9th, the fiscal cut-off.
I have received many e-mails and calls this week from readers and health advocates excited about the Tobacco 21, E-cigarette, PE, and sugar-sweetened beverage bills. I love hearing from all of you and your enthusiasm, or concern about these proposals. However, I'm not the person you need to be asking to "do all you can to pass this bill or stop this bill." I'm not a legislator. You, however have two representatives and a senator who need to, and would welcome hearing from you.
In January, Whitney, Rachel, and our friend Dennis Worsham were fortunate to hear TVW Host and NPR Reporter Austin Jenkins at City Club Tacoma before the 2016 session began. In response to an audience question about impacting the legislative process, Austin replied that in his experience, constituents have about a 50/50 chance of impacting your legislator about legislation or policy you care about if you have a clear issue you can present.
My friends, if you have bills you care about, I encourage you to call 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for your legislators. Don't worry if you don't know who your legislators are, or if you didn't vote for them. All you need to do is give your home address to the friendly operator who answers, and s/he will figure out who your legislators are and take your message down and pass it on to them.
For the latest on bills that we're tracking and what we're watching this week in Session. Click on for more Health Policy News!