Legislative Update - 01-29-2018



Doug Levy – 1/29/18

“Great Outdoors Day” was a great success – thank you! Bravo to all of you who lent your time and advocacy efforts to the cause last Thursday in Olympia as we co-hosted “Great Outdoors Day” with our colleagues at the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition (WWRC).  While WRPA attendance was down somewhat (about 25), we did have over 100 people overall.  Those attending had a great opportunity to hear from Senators and Representatives representing all four Caucuses on the Capital Budget – and to thank them for an outstanding 2017-19 Capital Budget that is now signed into law.  Kudos to all who came!

Both the Senate and House passed marquee bills off the Floor last week as the Legislature moved closer to its first major cutoff deadlines for moving bills out of policy and fiscal committees.

On Wednesday, by a 60-37 vote, the House approved Engrossed House Bill 2201 prime-sponsored by Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way/30th Dist.).  The bill directs that Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes (MVET) collected by Sound Transit under the Phase III, voter-approved program (“ST3”) be based on a 2006 vehicle valuation schedule that brings the taxing formula closer to a Kelly Blue Book approach.  2201 also requires that Sound Transit establish a “market value adjustment program” that will allow taxpayers a credit against the MVET taxes that were otherwise due.  House Democrats hailed this as an important step in recalibrating the MVET and giving taxpayers some relief, while Republicans contended the bill did not go nearly far enough in assisting over-burdened MVET bill-payers.

On Thursday night, by a 29-20 vote, the Senate passed Engrossed Senate Bill 5992 prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase or possession in Washington State of “bump-stocks” devices on firearms.  Four Republican Senators – Sens. Joe Fain (R-Auburn/47th Dist.), Curtis King (R-Yakima/14th Dist.), Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way/30th Dist.), and Hans Zeiger (R-Puyallup/25th Dist.) -- joined all 25 Senate Democrats in approving 5992. 

While these bills and scores of others remain on the move, many pieces of legislation are bound to “die” (our morbid Olympia parlance) in the next several days, as policy bills must clear committees by this coming Friday to remain alive and bills with a fiscal component have until Tuesday, Feb. 6, to remain in play.  Legislators have introduced what some are calling a record number of bills in the first few weeks of this short session, and the coming deadlines will be a significant weeding-out time.  After Feb. 6, we will be in much better position to assess which bills to focus our time on in the last five to six weeks of the 2018 Session.

Week 3 was a good one for WRPA, as many of our local parks and recreation leaders had an opportunity to directly advocate for our priorities and to thank legislators who finally pushed a 2017-19 Capital Budget and bonds (SSB 6090; ESHB 1080) over the finish line and into law in Week 2.

Following is my usual overview of where we are on WRPA top priorities and “support” or “oppose” measures, followed by a listing of some other bills of interest. A Week 4 list of hearings and possible “Executive Session” action is at the bottom of this report (Pg. 5-7), with my recommendations on Testify/Sign-in/Monitor.


Top Priorities

Enact 2017-19 Capital Budget – Including Key Funding Targets for WWRP, YAF, ALEA

(Capital Budget) As I reported late in Week 2, we can check the box on this one!  The now-approved 2017-19 Capital Budget includes well over $100 million in important outdoor recreation investments when you combine $80 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), $17.175 million for the Boating Facilities Program, $13.195 million for the Non-Highway Off-Road Vehicle Account (NOVA) and $4.077 million for the Youth Athletic Facilities (YAF).  It was nice that we had a chance to hear from nearly all the key architects of that budget during our noon-hour Great Outdoors lunch program last Thursday – Sens. David Frockt (D-Seattle/46th Dist.), Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah/5th Dist.), and Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake/13th Dist.); and Reps. Steve Tharinger (D-Dungeness/24th Dist.), Beth Doglio (D-Olympia/22nd Dist.), Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds/21st Dist.), Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis/20th Dist.), and Mike Steele (R-Wenatchee/12th Dist.).  Our speakers are the Chairs, Vice Chairs, Ranking Members and negotiators who put the deal together.

Protect Funding for Dedicated Accounts within the Capital Budget

(Capital Budget) While the 2017-19 Capital Budgets do a very good job overall of preserving dedicated accounts for outdoor recreation, one notable exception is the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA).  The Governor had proposed a $5.3 million funding level for ALEA – with all but $1 million of that in bonds.  The Legislature diverted the bonds elsewhere, leaving the account with only $1 million.  We are now making a hard push to see if some of that funding can be restored in the 2018 Supplemental Capital Budget, which would be the difference between one funded ALEA project and several.I want to particularly thank Edmonds Parks Director Carrie Hite and Skagit County Parks Director Brian Adams, who made that request very directly with our noon-hour speakers.  I have follow-up meetings planned as well.

Future Initiative:  Funding/Financing Options to Address Parks and Recreation M&O

(Tax Policy Bill) This is an initiative that WRPA will start in 2018, but legislative proposals will not be brought to the Legislature until 2019.  WRPA Legislative Chair Paul Simmons of Olympia has shared that we have a lot of interest and local parks officials who want to participate, which is fantastic.  If you have questions about when this starts or are interested in taking part in the effort, please e-mail Paul at [email protected]


Oppose Legislation to Prematurely Place Regulatory Burdens on “Crumb Rubber” Fields(Potential Policy Bill) Nothing to report and as previously noted, we see no indications of any 2018 legislation.

“Big Tent” Outdoor Recreation Coalition

(Budgetary, Policy Items) WRPA has strongly supported the work of the Big Tent and is one of several dozen members of the coalition.  The Big Tent was instrumental in the formation of a new “Outdoor Recreation Caucus” that meets every Thursday morning and now has three meetings under its belt.  Sen. Warnick and Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles/24th Dist.) are serving as co-chairs of the Caucus, which will hear a presentation on the Outdoor Recreation economy this Thursday.  Anyone is welcome to attend the Outdoor Recreation Caucus meetings, which are every Thursday at 7 a.m. in the House Rules Room.

Support efforts to make the system of outdoor recreation passes simpler, more equitable, and more convenient (Policy Bill/Bills) The Ruckelshaus Center, in consultation with state natural resource agencies, completed a report late last year recommending ways to simplify outdoor recreation passes and make them more convenient to obtain.  Governor Inslee’s proposed Operating Budget included a $50,000 proviso to more precisely cost out what it would take to move the pass-simplification efforts forward.  In the meantime, companion bills – SHB 2652/SB 6128 -- would incorporate some of the more viable recommendations from the Ruckelshaus Center report, such as making Discover Pass free days and exemptions more uniform across agencies.  While both bills had hearings last week, 2652 passed out of the House Environment Committee last Thursday in substitute form.  See the link at the top of Page 3 to give you a sense of what the bill does:


Advocate for Key “Healthy & Active Communities” Funding within the State Budget Process

(Capital, Transportation, Operating Budgets) As part of its ongoing “Healthy and Active Communities” initiative begun several years ago, WRPA works to ensure adequate funding for programs in state budgets that better enable kids and adults to get outdoors, live healthy lifestyles, and stay healthy.  These include public health and “No Child Left Inside” in the Operating Budget, several programs in the Transportation Budget (Safe Routes to Schools; Bicycle & Pedestrian Grants; “Complete Streets,” etc.) and of course WWRP, YAF and more in the Capital Budget.  This Session, most of the action around ‘new’ funding was in the enacted 2017-19 Capital Budget.  Supplemental Capital and Transportation Budgets will have minimal – if any – new dollars for these programs.

Support Efforts to Address Mental Health, Homelessness, Affordable Housing

(Operating Budget, Capital Budget, Policy Bills) WRPA applauds the $106.7 million Housing Trust Fund allocation in the Capital Budget, and is tracking policy bills that would establish new funding or local options to address the state’s growing crisis in affordable housing and homelessness.  Here’s an update on a handful:

  • 2SHB 1570, making the $40 Document Recording Fee permanent in statute and authorizing counties to impose an additional surcharge of up to $50:  This legislation passed out of the House Appropriations Committee last Monday with all Democratic votes. However, we received word last week that the Washington Association of Realtors is prepared to go neutral on the permanent statutory provision and at least a $20 local-option fee, which should give 1570 a boost;
  • SHB 1797, local option authority for cities and counties to fund housing, homeless, and behavioral health facilities:  In a meeting with several of us last Thursday, House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle/43rd Dist.) indicated this bill is likely to receive a House Floor vote on Monday.  1797, prime-sponsored by Rep. Joan McBride (D-Kirkland/48th Dist.) and with a “Striking Amendment” to be offered by Rep. Andrew Barkis (R-Olympia/2nd Dist.), includes a 0.1 percent councilmanic sales tax authority for King County. Directive language within the 0.1 percent authority require the funds to be equitably distributed throughout the county and for the county to comply with an annual reporting/look-back requirement.  A state sales tax remittance program in the bill will be available to non-King County jurisdictions of 45,000 population or fewer;
  • HB 2437, providing a new infusion of affordable housing capital and operating dollars through a .025 percent state sales tax credit:  Under this bill, counties may opt in to use the .025 percent state sales tax credit. Counties would also have the authority to bond against the .025 percent revenues.  King County has until 2021 to opt in, while other counties are given until July 1, 2020.  In our meeting with the Speaker, we heard steps are being taken to further minimize the general fund fiscal impact of this bill (which could be up to $40 million/year);
  • Bills providing state matching funds to a 4 percent federal tax credit for affordable housing – SB 6532/HB 2913:  Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah/5th Dist.) and Rep. McBride are the prime sponsors of these companion bills, both of which are up for hearing this coming week.  6532/2913 would cost the general fund $14 million a biennium and these bills are not a Leadership priority as 2437 (above) is;  
  • SHB 1987, allowing affordable housing density bonuses for projects on religious organization properties:  This bill moved last Thursday out of House Community Development, Housing, and Tribal Affairs Committee.  Rep. McBride is the prime sponsor.  Under a Committee Amendment, cities would be able to offer density-bonuses consistent with what is offered to others within their codes;
  • SB 6555, regarding temporary housing for the homeless by religious organizations:  This bill is up for a hearing Monday in the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee.  Washington Fire Chiefs have major concerns with the bill, which pre-empts local officials from requiring fire sprinklers in churches and religious facilities that house the homeless on a temporary basis.
  • SHB 2538/SB 6294, allowing local jurisdictions to fully waive impact fees for affordable housing developments:  Both a substitute version of 2538 and 6294 passed out of their Committees last week.  Each of the bills now offers a narrow impact fee waiver to emergency housing shelters.
  • HB 2711/SB 6417, local option bills allowing cities to establish “Housing Opportunity Zones”:  The Senate version of these bills will be heard Tuesday in Senate Local Government, while the House measure is up for “executive session” action sometime this coming week in House Community Development, Housing, and Tribal Affairs.  While these bills are discretionary and give cities authority and tools to do transit-oriented development, a “by right” permitting provision in Sec. 4 of the measures has caused some angst among Planning Directors.

 Re-Establishing a Statewide Tourism Marketing Program – 3SSB 5251, HB 2924

(Policy Bill) Of these two bills, 5251, which already has passed out of a Senate policy committee, is the likely vehicle.  But both measures have hearings this upcoming week.  The prospects for some level of tourism funding in the Operating Budget are the best they’ve been in the last few years.  As I’ve shared, 5251 would create a $1.5 million funding stream for tourism promotion in Fiscal Year 2019 and up to $5 million per biennium thereafter.

Other Bills

 (If you have bills you wish me to add, or are interested in particular legislation impacting local parks and recreation, please contact me at [email protected])

  • SB 6097, establishing a Work Group to assess the talent gap in the Outdoor Recreation sector:  This bill by Senate Higher Education Chair Kevin Ranker (D-San Juan Islands/40th Dist.) has moved out of his committee and is up for a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.  I’m prepared to testify in support.
  • SHB 1177, HB 1180:  The 1177 measure provides holders of a State Parks Lifetime Veteran’s Disability Pass with the same access to recreation lanes one would receive from a Discover Pass.  1180 would enable residents with a 100 percent armed services disability rating to qualify for annual complimentary Discover Passes.  1177 has passed out of the House Community Development, Housing, and Tribal Relations Committee and is now in the House Appropriations Committee.
  • SB 5442/HB 1604:  These companion bills provide State Parks with more flexibility in using boating-safety funds and remove obsolete statutory language from Boater Education Card provisions of state law.  I joined State Parks last Friday for a meeting with Senate Law & Justice Chair Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle/43rd Dist.), who supports the bill and will help us get it moving.
  • ESSB 5838:  This legislation, prime-sponsored by now-departed State Senator (and current congressional candidate) Dino Rossi, is highly unlikely to move in 2018.  The bill would have established a priority in future capital bonding capacity to address a $500 million+ maintenance backlog for State Parks capital facilities.
  • SB 6123, prohibiting the use of state bonds to pay for state employees:  While we understand the objective behind this legislation, it would have negative implications for the future of employees who help administer Capital Budget-based programs at  the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), State Parks, Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  We are opposed to 6123, which is up for a hearing this week.
  • HB 2803, regarding recreational passes:  This legislation would remove the requirement for a day-use permit or Discover Pass to access WDFW or DNR lands.  2803 had a hearing last Monday but is not on any “Executive Session” lists for this week.
  • HB 2756, wheeled All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) tourism routes: This legislation establishes a pilot program for an ATV tourism route, to include a combination of highways, trails, and roads. It convenes a stakeholder group to identify potential routes, asks counties to designate routes, and would have counties enter into agreements with landowners in designating routes.  Pilot counties include Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, Grays Harbor, Pierce and Lewis. 2756 had a hearing last Thursday in the House Transportation Committee.
  • SB 6152, HB 2521, allowing counties to vacate roads abutting waterways when upkeep of the road would create a public safety hazard:  The underlying versions of these bills caused angst among whitewater rafting, trails, and recreational boating groups which worried about a problematic precedent it might create.  The Clark County legislators who sponsored the bill to address a particular property along the Lewis River have worked on narrowing amendments.  The legislation which narrows this the most, SSB 6152 by Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center/18th Dist.), passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee last Thursday.
  • 2SHB 2006, providing cities and counties more flexibility within existing resources:  This legislation passed out of House Appropriations last Wednesday with only one ‘no’ vote.  It removes “supplanting” provisions on levy lid lifts, criminal justice levies, and the .1 percent sales and use tax for mental health.
  • Establishing a business plan for a new “Infrastructure Bank” – SSB 6375: Sens. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle/11th Dist.) and Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue/48th Dist.) are the main architects of this bill, which is poised to move out of Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance this coming week.
  • SB 6143, “unit-priced contracting” authority for cities:  This “good little bill” has passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee and advanced to the Senate Floor Calendar last Thursday. A unit-priced contract as defined in 6143 is a competitively bid contract where public works are anticipated on a recurring basis, and where the contractor agrees to a fixed period of time, an indefinite quantity delivery of work, and a defined unit price for each category of work.
  • HB 2726, public-private partnerships for alternative public works contracting:  The House Capital Budget Committee heard this legislation last Tuesday.  The “P3” idea, while popular and firmly ingrained by some other states, has been controversial in Washington State.  It was clear from last Tuesday’s hearing that 2726 has a healthy number of both supporters and detractors.
  • SB 6080, concerning the electrification of transportation:  This bill seeks to imbed a comprehensive policy on electric vehicles into Washington State law, and is up for a hearing Tuesday in Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology.


2018 Session—Week 4 List of Hearings & “Executive Sessions” —

Recommendations on Testify/Sign-In/Monitor for Public Hearings are in Italics

 Monday, January 29, 2018

Senate Law and Justice, 10 a.m. – Hearing on SB 5970, establishing the crisis intervention response team pilot project. MONITOR.

Senate Human Services & Corrections, 1:30 p.m. – Hearing on SB 6365, concerning suspension of the evaluation, detention, and commitment of persons with a substance use disorder when secure detoxification facility beds are not available; SB 6491, increasing the availability of assisted outpatient behavioral health treatment; SB 6502, concerning eligibility for the essential needs and housing support and the aged, blind, or disabled assistance programs; SB 6573, establishing the capacity to purchase community long-term involuntary psychiatric treatment services through managed care; and SB 6555, concerning temporary homeless housing by religious organizations. Checking on 6365, 6491, 6502, 6573;MONITOR 6555, to which Fire Chiefs are strongly opposed.

House Environment, 1:30 p.m. – Hearing on HB 2599, allowing local governments to collect reasonable fees to cover costs for long-range planning required by state environmental policy statutes. MONITOR – Continuation of prior week’s public hearing.

Senate Ways & Means, 3:30 p.m. – Hearing on SB 5182, providing local governments with options to preserve affordable housing in their communities; SB 6123, prohibiting the use of state bond proceeds for state employee compensation; SB 6468, expanding community-based behavioral health facilities through issuance of state bonds; and SB 6013, concerning behavioral rehabilitation services. Check on 6468, 6013; MONITOR 5182 (unlikely to move in House if it gets that far); sign in OPPOSED to 6123.

House Appropriations, 3:30 p.m. – Hearing on SHB 1247, concerning eligibility for lifetime veterans’ disability passes. MONITOR.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance, 8 a.m. – Hearing on SB 6532, creating a Washington affordable housing tax credit program; and SB 6557, concerning sales, use and excise tax exemptions for self-help housing development. MONITOR.

Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology, 10 a.m. – Hearing on SB 6080, concerning the electrification of transportation. MONITOR.

House Judiciary, 10 a.m. – Hearing on HB 2401, concerning suspension of the evaluation, detention, and commitment of persons with a substance use disorder when secure detoxification facility beds are not available. Checking on this bill.

House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs, 10 a.m. – Hearing on HB 2924, concerning tourism marketing; and HB 2913, creating a Washington affordable housing tax credit program. Sign in SUPPORT of 2924; MONITOR 2913.

Senate Local Government, 1:30 p.m. – Hearing on SB 6417, concerning the creation of housing opportunity zones by cities and counties.  MONITOR.

House Environment, 1:30 p.m. – Possible Executive Session action on HB 2634, concerning the use of anti-fouling paints on recreational water vessels. MONITOR.

House Public Safety, 1:30 p.m. – Hearing on HB 2892, establishing the mental health field response teams program.  MONITOR.

Senate Ways & Means, 3:30 p.m. – Hearing on SSB 6097, creating a Task Force on the outdoor recreation industry; 3SSB 5251, concerning tourism marketing; and SB 6013 concerning behavioral rehabilitation services. TESTIFY in SUPPORT of 6097; sign in SUPPORT of 5251; check on 6013.

House Finance, 3:30 p.m. – Hearing on HB 2799, providing that certain local sales and use taxes may be used for prevention and outreach programs.  Check.

House Capital Budget, 3:30 p.m. – Possible executive action on HB 2382, promoting the use of surplus public property for public benefit; HB 2809, concerning efficiency updates for capital budget appropriations allocated for public art. Check on 2852.  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

House Judiciary, 8 a.m. – Hearing on HB 2831, concerning condo construction defect actions. MONITOR.

House Community Development, Housing, & Tribal Affairs, 8 a.m. – Possible Executive Session action on HB 2913, creating a Washington affordable housing tax credit program.  MONITOR.

Senate Ways & Means, 3:30 p.m. – Hearing on SB 6347, expanding the property tax exemption for new and rehabilitated multiple-unit dwellings in urban centers. MONITOR.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

House Environment, 8 a.m. – Possible Executive Session action on HB 2634, concerning the use of anti-fouling paints on recreational water vessels; and HB 2658, concerning the use of per-fluorinated chemicals in food packaging. MONITOR.

Senate Law & Justice, 10 a.m. – Possible Executive Session action on SB 6523 concerning the tolling of condo construction defect claims. MONITOR.

Senate Local Government, 1:30 p.m. – Hearing on HB 1085, regulating the minimum dimensions of habitable spaces in single-family residential areas. MONITOR – bill is local option.

House Transportation, 3:30 p.m. – Hearing on HB 2716, concerning transportation network companies; and HB 2945, concerning transportation network companies. MONITOR.

Friday, February 2, 2018

House Capital Budget, 10 a.m. – Possible Executive Session action on HB 2382, promoting the use of surplus public property for public benefit; and HB 2809, concerning efficiency updates for capital budget appropriations allocated for public art. MONITOR.

Share this post:

Comments on " Legislative Update - 01-29-2018 "

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment