OLYMPIA – With the legislative session a little more than halfway through, many Washington residents might have a question or two for their state senator or representatives.
Some might have lots of questions.
Although many legislators are ensconced in Olympia for the duration, some plan to come back for town hall meetings this weekend. Others will be asking their constituents to phone it in – take part in a teleconference version of those meetings, sometimes known as a tele-town hall.
“It’ll be interesting,” state Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said of his first tele-town hall, scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight. Although he served some 15 years in the House, the technology didn’t exist to do call-in meetings with large groups when he left the Legislature in 1995.
Participants call a toll-free number and enter an access code to participate. Some just dial in to listen; others want to ask questions.
In a session that involves fixing a major gap in the state’s general fund, cutting programs, possibly raising taxes, and approving a bill to allow same-sex marriage, there’s probably plenty to talk about.
Here’s a list of teleconferences and actual town hall meetings for Spokane area legislators in the coming weeks:
3rd District (central Spokane)
Reps. Timm Ormsby and Andy Billig will hold a joint town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St.
4th District (Spokane Valley, some parts of Mead, Green Bluff)
Padden will hold a tele-town hall at 7 tonight. Dial (877) 229-8493, then enter the code 19371.
Rep. Matt Shea will hold a tele-town hall at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 (rescheduled because an early call conflicted with the debate on same-sex marriage). Dial (877) 229-8493 and enter the code 15550.
6th District (parts of south and northwest Spokane, Moran Prairie and Latah Valley)
Sen. Mike Baumgartner will hold a tele-town hall at 7 p.m. Feb. 23. Dial (877) 229-8493 and enter the code 17921.
Rep. Kevin Parker will hold a tele-town hall at 6:30 tonight; dial (877) 229-8493 and enter code 15438. He will also hold a live town hall at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ridgeview Elementary School, 5610 N. Maple St.
Rep. John Ahern will hold a live town hall at 3 p.m. Saturday at North Spokane County Library, 44 E. Hawthorne Road.
9th District (southeast Washington counties, including southern third of Spokane County)
Rep. Susan Fagan will hold a tele-town hall at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Dial (877) 229-8493 and enter the code 15605. (Note: An earlier version of this post listed the wrong day.)