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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Monday, March 2, 2015

Legislature will debate policy bills on the floor over the next ten days – then home for Town Hall meetings

After spending the first seven weeks of session sifting and sorting through hundreds of bills, legislators’ attention now shifts to leadership, who will decide which policy bills are worth debating and which will be sent to the other chamber. March 11 at 5 pm is the deadline for a policy bill to be voted off the floor and sent across the Capitol for further consideration.

Numerous bills of interest to cities are described in this Legislative Bulletin. A few bills needing voices of support or opposition from home are highlighted in the Take Action section. Calls or notes to your legislators from home do make a big difference!

Bills impacting the state’s operating, transportation, or capital budgets are exempt from this deadline. Many times, these bills are not debated. They are decided upon late in the session during both open and closed-door budget discussions.

The exception to that this session has been the long anticipated Senate consideration of a statewide transportation funding and project reform package. Efforts to move that forward stalled late on Friday, February 27, over questions surrounding how many votes it takes to pass a revenue package. More on the transportation package and an unexpected hit to local sales taxes are more fully described in the Transportation section.

Even though most of AWC’s 2015 priorities have to do with budget decisions legislators will tackle later in the session, it doesn’t mean key leadership and those members and staff responsible for crafting budgets aren’t working on them now. By tradition, the House unveils their version of the budget first this year. We expect to see comprehensive general fund and capital budgets sometime during the week of March 23. We’ll then have a clearer idea about continued support – or not – of shared liquor money and Public Works Trust Fund revenues for infrastructure.

Before these budget proposals are unveiled, most legislators will be going home the weekend of March 14 to hold Town Hall meetings in and around their districts. AWC is working to compile a list of locations, and we’ll share that as meeting information becomes available. City officials are encouraged to attend, thank legislators for serving, and ask them about issues you care about. We have produced a new edition of our Operation: Strong Cities Pocket Guide aimed at helping you advocate for what matters. Connecting with your legislators at home during this part of session is more valuable than you might expect.