A Preview of the 2017 Washington State Legislative Session
Re-posted from The South Seattle Emerald
The 2017 Washington State Legislative Session will likely be one of the most momentous in recent history. The reason for this is the imperative to finally, fully address McCleary. And addressing McCleary will entail tax reform. Thus, the session holds promise for much-needed change in two critical areas — educational finance and tax policy. In the next two months, several critical events will define the political landscape for the upcoming session. This article previews the 2017 Legislative Session. There are four sections: political context, central issues, legislative topics and themes.
Four events will set the stage for the Legislative Session. The first is the national election. As Akhil Reed Amar, U.S. Constitution expert from Yale, stressed in his September lecture at Seattle’s Town Hall, it is difficult to remember a U.S. election with as much at stake as 2016. Everything is potentially in play: the presidency, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate and arguably the U.S. House. The outcome of the national election will have significant implications for state policy on a wide range of issues, from Affordable Care Act viability, to immigration law, to trade and tariffs, to infrastructure investment.
The second key event is the state election, and its determination of control of the two legislative chambers in Olympia. Currently, the State House is under Democratic control (50-48), while the State Senate is under Republican control (26-23). It is important to be aware of the recent historical context — both chambers have become increasingly Republican since the start of the Obama presidency.
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