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Published on Friday, March 10, 2017

What to expect on city priorities, budget, and policy in the coming weeks

March 8 was a critical deadline to move policy bills from one chamber to the other. The good news is that several of AWC's priorities advanced - principle among them bills addressing public records reforms. Less certain is the fate of other AWC priorities dealing with infrastructure funding or housing affordability and homelessness. These bills have some degree of fiscal impact on the state's operating or capital budgets and are in somewhat of a "hold pattern" until budget writers and leadership in both chambers figure out where they fit in or not. There are also bills AWC has opposed or expressed concerns about. Most of them have not advanced, in large part because of your voices from home, so thank you! Several could reemerge and we'll keep you posted if that's the case.

Legislators' attention now turns to committees sorting through policy bills sent from the opposite chamber, as well as behind-closed-door conversations about budget proposals expected to first see the light of day in the Senate sometime shortly after the March 16 state revenue forecast. AWC's attention will be focused on both.

We've highlighted in this Legislative Bulletin a number of key hearings this week, including those for our public records bills in the Senate State Government Committee on March 15 and different versions of House and Senate bills addressing city business licensing changes that will be heard later in the week. We also urge cities to be in touch with your Senators and Representatives to remind them of the importance of continued state sharing of revenues, and the need to maintain support for critical infrastructure funding - especially in our smaller communities. Getting these messages directly to your legislators before the first operating budget is released in the Senate can have a real impact.

In addition to the March 16 date to remember, around March 20 we expect a Senate budget to come forward, and on March 29 policy bills need to clear the opposite committee. Finally, April 4 is the last day to consider and pass both policy and budget bills from the opposite chamber. Wedged right in there is our April 3 AWC City Lobby Day – wherein we're asking each city to dedicate time to connect with your legislators to let them know what you need them to address. We're hosting and organizing an opportunity for face-to-face communications at the Capitol that day and will soon be sharing ideas on how you can participate from home as well.

We so appreciate the support your voices are providing so far. There's much at stake in the following weeks before scheduled adjournment on April 23, and your direct contact from home at key times remains critical.