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Published on Friday, January 22, 2016

AWC bills with bipartisan support make their moves

One hundred forty-seven legislators, many of whom are positioning for re-election, don’t have much time in this short 60-day session to get their priorities addressed. As such, there’s seemingly a mad dash to introduce and get their bills heard before time runs out to have bills pass from one side of the rotunda to the other. Luckily for AWC, we’re working with several legislators who, in a truly bipartisan fashion, are championing many of our issues which are moving step-by-step through the process.

This isn’t by accident. Bills with bipartisan support have a much better chance of serious consideration. These bills rise above partisan banter and aim instead to solve a problem. One great example this year includes bills in both chambers to restore the growth in local liquor profits. Another great bipartisan example includes bills in the House that address both public records request abuses, and enable more widespread use of film and sound recordings by law enforcement that protect privacy. Take a look at a short video clip of two of our legislative champions talking about their efforts. This is likely the most widely supported bipartisan House bill of interest to cities, along with a bill signed on by 40 members that will provide local governments more authority to regulate and ban fireworks if there is an imminent danger from dry conditions like were experienced last summer.

Getting hearings and many bipartisan signatures on bills we support is just the beginning of what’s needed to get to the finish line. Legislators continue to grapple with education and corrections issues. Now with a court decision finding I-1366 unconstitutional, message jockeying about how to raise and spend state revenues will intensify and become very political. Cities can’t avoid this environment, but we can continue to work beyond it to try and accomplish reasonable things.

We’re looking forward to welcoming over 300 city officials from across the state in Olympia next week for our City Action Days conference. They’ll hear the latest on what’s hot and not, and they’ll fan out to share the city stories on how legislators and the Governor can help keep cities strong. Those of you who can’t make it, please keep connecting with your legislators to encourage and thank them for any help they can provide to keep our priority bills moving forward.