On Tuesday morning at the Water, Agriculture, Trade and Economic Development Committee hearing, Senate Bill 5502 (the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program) was voted out of this policy committee. While in committee, the bill was amended to add clarifying language about how Washington Filmworks interfaces with the Department of Revenue. Because the bill was amended in committee, the bill is considered a substitute, and will now be referred to as SSB 5502. The bill was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and we are awaiting a date for the hearing.
The Keep Film in WA campaign would like to thank the 49 people who attended the Senate hearing on Thursday, February 9. A special shout out to the Spokane film professionals that braved the snow and convinced the staff at the WSU Spokane campus to open it’s doors so that they could testify remotely!
The companion bill in the House (HB 1527) remains in the Finance Committee awaiting action (which is scheduled to occur on Friday.) There is an ongoing discussion in Olympia about changing the funding structure of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. If legislators succeed in changing the structure of the program, it would mean our funding would need to be renewed every two years (instead of the 10 year extension that is currently in the bill to renew the program).
We need film industry professionals that live or work in the 43rd legislative district to let Speaker Frank Chop (D, 43) know that we support renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program as it is currently structured in HB 1527. Equally important is that he let Representative Kristine Lytton (D, 40) know of our concerns.
Need inspiration? Check out filmmaker Megan Griffiths’s guest editorial for The Stranger’s Blog about the importance of the incentive, here. In the article, you can also find Speaker Chopp’s contact information.