Sen. Andy Billig

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The Washington and Idaho legislatures are in the homestretches of their respective sessions. Lawmakers are working to finalize budgets and put the finishing touches on a variety of bills.

In Washington, the Rules Committees [chaired in the Senate by Lt. Gov. Denny Heck, above] have an important role in determining which bills move on and which ones die. Today we get a Civics 101 lesson from Sen. Andy Billig [D-Spokane], a Rules Committee member.  

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The Washington and Idaho legislatures are right in the thick of their 2021 sessions. Idaho lawmakers expect to finish by March 26. Washington’s session is scheduled to end on April 25.

Even during sessions held during a pandemic, people who can’t travel to Olympia or Boise can keep an eye on what their elected representatives are doing. In Idaho, most of the proceedings are viewable online through Idaho Public Television. In Washington, coverage is provided by TVW.

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The Washington and Idaho legislatures are different in many ways. Democrats control both chambers in Olympia. Republicans are in charge in Boise.

But the pandemic has united legislators in the two states in one specific way. They’re each working to increase their authority during emergencies by calling themselves into special sessions. 

Courtesy of Rob Chase

Spokane’s legislative delegation will look much the same in 2021 as it did in 2020.

All of the incumbents won their races. The one exception comes in the Fourth District, where Republican Rob Chase will replace a fellow Republican, Matt Shea. Chase defeated Democrat Lance Gurel by about 22 percentage points.