Next Thursday Washington lawmakers from the House and Senate will hold a joint work session in Portland, OR. While it may seem strange for state lawmakers to hold a public meeting in a different state, technically they aren’t. At least according to state definitions of out-of-state travel.

While there is no danger of Washington attempting to annex parts of Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia, according to the Senate:

“. . . travel to Portland, Vancouver or Victoria, or Coeur d’Alene is deemed not to be ‘out of state.'”

This mirrors the policy for the executive branch as defined by the State Administrative & Accounting Manual (SAAM):

“Travel anywhere outside the boundaries of the state of Washington is to be considered out-of-state and should be coded as out-of-state travel. However, with respect to the requirement for prior authorization of out-of-state travel in Subsection 10.10.50, travel to counties and/or cities in the states of Idaho and Oregon that are contiguous to the border between Washington-Idaho or Washington-Oregon shall not be considered out-of-state.”

This means that even though the Legislature is maintaining a self-imposed travel ban for out-of-state travel, the Portland work session is exempt since it is considered in-state.

Here is the agenda for next week’s Portland work session:

Community Development & Housing –  07/21/11  9:30 am

Full Committee
Jt. w/  Senate Economic Development, Trade & Innovation
Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
921 SW 6th Avenue Galleria-Galleria South Conf Rm
Portland, OR

Work Session:  Regional collaboration in developing the innovation economy.

The work session was scheduled to coincide with the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) in Portland.

According to the Senate:

“PNWER is a regional body to which the State of Washington belongs (see RCW 43.147) and to which the legislature pays dues (though for the last three years the Senate has paid only 50% of the dues invoiced due to the budget situation).

“PNWER’s website describes it as a  ‘…forum for collaborative bi-national planning involving both the public and private sectors and offers leadership at the state/provincial level in Salem, Olympia, Boise, Helena, Juneau, Edmonton, Regina, Victoria, Yellowknife and Whitehorse, and at the national level in Washington, DC and Ottawa. PNWER facilitates working groups consisting of public and private leaders to address specific issues impacting our regional economy.’”

Thankfully for Washingtonians actually living in Washington, TVW plans to tape the Portland, OR work session for re-broadcast.


[Reprinted from the Washington Policy Center blog; photo credit: flickr]