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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, September 11, 2015

Which legislators are this year’s City Champions? How is AWC’s 2016 Legislative Agenda taking shape? And how can you be involved?

First, our thanks to City Champions!

Many legislators helped cities achieve 2015 session outcomes that were good for cities, but certain ones stood out as City Champions. For the second year, AWC is pleased to recognize five individual legislators for their outstanding efforts. In addition, we’re honoring one legislator for his years of advocating for city interests by awarding him our first every City Champion All-Star award. Additionally, we are recognizing eight legislators and the Governor for their tireless efforts to enact a transportation package that provides tools and benefits to cities across the state.

These awards not only acknowledge the work of those we honor, but help foster a greater awareness and dedication of the value of maintaining strong cities across the state. If your legislator is on this list, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. If they are not on the list, encourage them to strive to be one of next year’s winners. The criteria are quite simple, and some combination of these can qualify them for consideration:

  • Sponsor or sign on to one or more of AWC’s priority legislation and be a vocal advocate both in public and behind the caucus room door;
  • Be part of the emerging bi-partisan Local Government Caucuses in the House and Senate; and
  • When votes come up on AWC priority legislation, stand with cities!

We’re working to schedule hometown presentation ceremonies for the following winners and to honor Governor Inslee’s efforts on transportation in an appropriate venue.

Overall City Champions

Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) for his efforts to organize and lead a bi-partisan caucus of House members who rallied to promote the interests and needs of cities and towns across the state with their legislative colleagues and leadership.

Rep. Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) for his work to craft solutions to problems and costs associated with abusive and costly public records requests, while maintaining public access to information.

Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) for her consistent advocacy for interests of cities and her effective way of helping her colleagues understand and appreciate the impacts of legislation on cities.

Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) receiving her second consecutive award for her outstanding advocacy and support for the interests of cities in establishing a more sensible regulatory framework within which to provide legal marijuana to patients and recreational users, as well as making sure tax revenues were shared with municipalities to protect public safety.

Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) receiving his second consecutive award for his consistent and effective advocacy for maintaining critical funding support for cities, including but not limited to, helping secure previously reduced liquor tax revenues to support local public safety and reminding colleagues of the critical importance of helping fund local infrastructure.

City Champion All-Star

Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) recognized as a longstanding and proven local government champion who has been in the forefront of advancing issues critical to helping cities prosper and meet the needs of their citizens and businesses. He has consistently sponsored bills to help cities, speaks out on behalf of cities both in public settings and also behind the scenes, and is always available to confer with city representatives and provide them with straight talk – whether they want to hear it or not.

Transportation Champions

House and Senate Transportation Committee Chairs, Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) and Governor Jay Inslee are recognized for their outstanding leadership in crafting and ensuring passage of a bi-partisan supported historic package. Transportation Committee Vice-Chairs or ranking minority party members are also recognized for their critical assistance and support. These recipients include Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma), Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn), Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama), Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), Rep. J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm) and Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood).

Now looking ahead to the 2016 session

Despite increasing court pressure to address education funding, a special legislative session before the end of 2015 does not seem very likely right now. The 2016 legislative session begins on January 11 and is supposed to be a short 60-day session. With a big election looming in November, the Legislature is unlikely to address major policy issues, and unless there’s an unexpected dip in projected revenues, significant changes to the state’s already adopted biennial budget aren’t likely either. More likely, legislators will look to pass less controversial policy bills, and AWC will be there with our ideas and input.

AWC’s legislative agenda for 2016 is beginning to take shape as our Legislative Priorities Committee meets on September 21 to look at:

  • Issues still on the table from 2015 or
  • Issues that could be advanced for passage in 2016 or
  • Issues needing groundwork prior to the longer and more comprehensive 2017 session.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve asked city officials to submit any issues they felt needed legislative consideration. Members of the Legislative Priorities Committee will review these ideas then recommended priorities and positions will be forwarded to the AWC Board for adoption at their next meeting.

After the priorities are adopted, AWC staff will fan out across the state to talk with you, our members, during a series of traditional Regional Meetings, as well as forums or meetings among city officials. If you’d like us to attend a meeting in your area with city officials from multiple jurisdictions, please contact Regina Greer.

Here’s where you can help!

Right now you’re focused on developing next year’s budget to meet your community’s needs or running for re-election. Your legislators are home or nearby, and it’s a great opportunity to connect with them. Consider helping them understand your issues as your budgets come together. Enlighten them on what challenges you face and where you have common interests. It’s also an opportune time to remind your constituents of community needs and how legislators can help.

We’ve updated our popular Pocket Guide to give you tips and ideas on ways to work most constructively with your legislators and community interests to help keep your city strong. In the next few weeks, elected officials will receive a printed copy in the mail.

We look forward to connecting with you this fall during an upcoming Regional Meetings or other meeting you invite us to participate in.