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

Published on Monday, October 3, 2016

Gearing up for a game-changing 2017 legislative session

With slightly more than a month remaining until election day, AWC has been working to help cities engage with legislators and candidates running for several key statewide positions set to be sworn in when the 2017 session starts on January 9. Successful candidates will face policy and fiscal challenges that could impact the city-state partnership for years to come.

Recognizing this, information in this edition of our Legislative Bulletin can help city officials’ conversations with candidates before and after the elections. Here are a few pieces that can help you now:

  • In addition to updates on several key issues and working groups, AWC’s just-adopted 2017 Legislative Priorities are outlined. Cities are encouraged to incorporate some or all of them into your own agendas and conversations with candidates.
  • There’s information about the dates and locations of 10 upcoming Regional Meetings where AWC will discuss the Priorities and hear about other issues on the home-front. We’ll also provide a number of updated fact sheets on key issues and will soon make them available online and in our CityVoice newsletter.
  • We provide links to video taken during a recent Statewide Candidate Forum, sponsored by AWC and Sound Cities Association, where both candidates for Governor stated clearly that they don’t and won’t support budgets built by diverting key revenues from cities.

AWC Board adopts 2017 Legislative Priorities

On September 29, AWC’s leadership reviewed recommendations forwarded by the Legislative Priorities Committee and adopted seven priorities aimed at keeping our 281 diverse cities and towns vibrant.

These seven priorities emerged following meetings and discussions over the summer among committee members, city staff, and a variety of interests involved in one or more of the priority issues. AWC staff is now preparing to travel around the state to discuss them with member cities in more detail during a series of 10 Regional Meetings which you are encouraged to attend.

We will also continue meeting with legislators, administration officials, and interests involved in each of the issues areas as we work to craft or support related legislation and state budget items. After the November 9 election, our Legislative Priorities Committee will meet to hear input gathered over the preceding weeks and consider any recommended changes to AWC’s Board when it meets again in early December.

Look for updates on all of these matters in our weekly CityVoice newsletter delivered every Wednesday, and our next Legislative Bulletin that will be distributed shortly after the elections. In the meantime, if questions or help needed, please don’t hesitate to contact me at davew@awcnet.org.

2017 City Priorities

In order for Washington State to be its best and attract the best, our 281 cities and towns must be strong.

  • Cities are where more than 4.6 million people call home, and this number is growing quickly.
  • Cities are where the majority of the state’s revenues are generated, including $1.3 billion in property taxes, and $7.5 billion in sales tax.
  • Cities contain the state’s economic engines, where 69% of job-generating businesses are located.

The 2017 legislative session will be lengthy and difficult. In light of competition for the state’s limited resources, this session could be a game changer for cities and communities around the state. In order to help solve our shared critical challenges and maintain Washington’s vibrant communities, the Legislature must:

Update the Public Records Act so cities can continue to provide open and transparent government services to Washington residents.

Support and enhance actions to increase affordable housing, decrease homelessness, and improve a strained mental and behavioral health system.

Revitalize key infrastructure assistance programs to support job creation, our health and safety, economic vitality, and quality of life.

Respect city local authority with regards to revenue, taxes, licensing, and home rule; city officials are elected and must have the authority to solve local challenges.

Maintain the city-state partnership for shared revenues to fund key services.

Provide adequate and sustainable funding to maintain high-quality statewide training for law enforcement personnel.

Maintain funding for the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) to provide vital support for local government performance.

Statewide Candidate Forum video clips

AWC invited candidates competing for Governor and races for Lt. Governor and State Auditor (where no incumbent is running) to address city officials about city issues during a forum in Renton on September 13. We greatly appreciated that all candidates appeared and engaged more than 70 city officials with their views on issues ranging from infrastructure, homelessness, the state budget and how to help keep government accountable and workable. Check here for clips of their comments.