We’re writing to share the unfortunate news that our bill will not be moving forward this session. The regular legislative session adjourned yesterday and Governor Inslee has already called a Special Session. In an effort to spur action (and compromise) in negotiating the supplemental budget, the Governor has also vetoed 27 of 37 bills passed during the regular session. In his written veto message he noted that while particular measures were “worthy” bills, passage of the budget “is a greater legislative priority.”
In addition to the political hurdles in Olympia, the bill to increase the funding and extend the sunset date of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program could not overcome the revenue forecast that was released on February 16, which indicated another $68 million budget shortfall this year and an even more significant budget shortfall for the next biennium.
While we are disappointed that the bill will not move forward, we know that we did important work this session that continues to build upon our solid foundation. The fact that we remained in the conversation until the very end is a true testament to the extraordinary work of our community. If your elected official was a supporter of the legislation or a sponsor of the bill, please take the time to write and thank them for their support. You can find a full list of the sponsors of HB 2542 here.
The good news is that business will continue as usual at Washington Filmworks as we fund projects through the Standard Program and the Innovation Lab. We will also continue working with filmmakers through the film office division – providing permitting and location assistance, as well as production resource information. As a reminder, the program is not scheduled to sunset until June 30, 2017, which means we will be able to raise an additional $3.5 million starting January 2017.
In the coming weeks we will convene the community to debrief about the session and talk about the next steps for the industry. If you have thoughts or ideas you would like to share about how we should move forward, we would love to hear them! Any comments or questions can be directed to Executive Director Amy Lillard (Amy@washingtonfilmworks.org).
Thank you for your extraordinary efforts and your continued support of the Keep Film in WA campaign.