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

Published on Monday, December 12, 2016

Legislative Bulletin – December 12, 2016

Hot topics

Governor’s budget expected this week.
Find out where you can find AWC’s analysis. More

Task force adopts recommendations for city business tax and licensing simplification.
Recommended items represent a significant compromise on the part of cities. More

From the Director

How might a closely divided Legislature help or hinder AWC’s 2017 agenda?
As legislators prepare to start their session on January 9, they come back to several looming challenges in addition to K-12 education funding. More

What you need to know

Budget & finance
Lodging tax reporting system open. Report your 2016 expenditures by March 1. More

Environment & land use
State Supreme Court decision on water availability determinations in counties is likely to lead to an attempt at a legislative fix. AWC will monitor closely to avoid unintended consequences for cities. More

Housing
AWC is cooperating with other stakeholders on a multi-faceted housing, homelessness and accountability agenda. More

Infrastructure
AWC is working on a new strategy to refresh the city-state infrastructure partnership with a centerpiece of updating and retooling the Public Works Trust Fund for the next 30 years. More

Marijuana
Marijuana industry beats revenue expectations again. More

Open government
PRA stakeholder group on verge of concluding, legislative proposals in the works. More

Personnel
Study looks at merger of LEOFF 1 & 2 pension systems. More
Employers seek workers’ compensation reforms. More
Court halts implementation of new FLSA rule. More
New minimum wage takes effect on January 1. More

Public safety & criminal justice
State task force concludes work and recommends changes to deadly force law. More

Transportation
Legislators and Governor’s staff lay out expectations for 2017 session and talk about Real ID, urban congestion, and ongoing needs and funding challenges. More

Telecommunications
Providers tell legislative committee that local governments need to do more to facilitate rollout of small cell networks. More

Take action

Adopt your city legislative agenda and share it More

Mayors Exchange More

City Action Days More

Media time

Cities 101 – Revenues and expenses More

 


 

From the Director

How might a closely divided Legislature help or hinder AWC’s 2017 agenda?

As legislators prepare to start their session on January 9, they come back to several looming challenges in addition to K-12 education funding. There are at least 19 new faces and perspectives arriving, and the partisan divide is narrow on one hand and potentially wider than before on another. On the surface, the 2017-18 Legislature might look much like the last one. There are again 50 Democrats and 48 Republicans in the House and, basically, 25 Republicans and 24 Democrats in the Senate. Leadership teams appear the same and there was no change in Governor.

Look a little closer and you’ll see that there are 17 new House members (nine Republicans and eight Democrats) and eight new Senators (four Democrats and four Republicans). Of the former, six gave up their House seats to run for seats vacated by retiring Senators. Lastly, there remain three Senate seats that will be vacated and refilled because sitting Senators Jayapal, Habib, and Roach each won other positions (Congress, Lt. Governor, and County Council). It’s likely they will be replaced by a House member so we could see three more new replacement faces in the House.

Why might this matter for things cities and towns care about?

In a partisan environment close majorities often mean it’s difficult to pass controversial bills. That’s generally good unless what you want and need is controversial, and some of AWC’s priorities might be deemed as such. Many of the ideas being generated to accomplish the goal of a balanced state budget will likely make it difficult to pay for items on everyone’s wish lists. If recent history repeats itself, we could find key programs and funding cities care about on the short list chopping block.

As session begins, we’ll get a glimpse at whether the House and Senate caucuses and the Governor are ready, willing, and able to look for common ground. Will there be an early agreement on K-12 education funding? Will there be proclamations of “no new taxes”? What will each caucus seek and might coalitions like a bi-partisan moderate middle emerge?

Your AWC team will be working with each caucus and the Governor’s office to find ways they can each help us and learn how we can help them. We’ll continue to promote and assist those who are and want to be local government Champions. We ask that each of you find an issue or issues that matter to your community and get engaged. We need all hands on deck and appreciate your help and attention.

Some quick reminders:

  • Beginning Monday, January 9 and until session ends, you’ll receive a weekly Legislative Bulletin e-mailed to you with some new formatting we hope will make it easier and more efficient for you to follow.
  • Dozens of Mayors are scheduled to come to Olympia for a day on the “hill” on Wednesday, January 18. If not already registered, there’s more information here.
  • We’re already planning the program for this year’s City Action Days conference, February 15-16. This year, more than any in the recent past, your presence and voices are needed to remind legislators why a great state can’t be sustained and thrive without strong cities. Registration is open!

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What you need to know

 

Budget & finance

Governor’s budget expected this week

By law, the Governor must release his proposal for a balanced state budget no later than December 20. We are expecting to see that budget sometime this week.

For the state’s two-year biennium beginning July 1, 2017, the operating budget is expected to be about $80 billion. Although state revenue has been coming in higher than expected, the state is still short of funding its existing services by an estimated $1 billion. This does not include funding for basic education as required by the McCleary decision (estimated by the Governor’s office at $3.5 billion), state employee collective bargaining agreements (estimated at $700 million), or any new services or programs, such as ones seeking to address growing issues with homelessness and mental health.

The Governor’s budget is likely to employ a three-prong strategy of reducing expenditures, fund transfers, and new revenue. When it comes to cuts and transfers, we can expect everything to be under consideration, including programs and revenues important to cities.

Shortly after the Governor releases his budget, we will post our analysis of impacts to cities here.

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Recommendations from the task force on local business tax & licensing simplification

After six months of meetings and significant negotiations between city and business representatives, the task force on local business tax and licensing simplification recently adopted its recommendations and is preparing to forward them to the Legislature by the end of this month.

The good news is the task force is not recommending that all cities with a business license be required to participate in the state’s Business Licensing Service nor is it recommending any centralized collection of city B&O tax at the state level.

However, some of the items recommended by the task force represent a significant compromise on the part of cities. The four recommendations are:

  • Licensing: The state’s Business Licensing Service (BLS) will be the primary, but not exclusive, entry point for businesses to obtain general business licenses. During 2017, BLS will determine the pace at which they are able to add new city partners and determine what additional resources are needed in order to accelerate adding cities to BLS. Funds from the BLS account will be used to increase BLS staffing and provide need based grants to facilitate city participation. The goal is to have as many cities as possible voluntarily partner with BLS by December 31, 2022.
  • Local business licensing nexus: Cities, with input from business associations, will develop and adopt a mandatory model definition of engaging in business that includes a de minimis standard or occasional sales exemption. This definition will guide when a business located outside of the city can be required to obtain a business license for a fee. Cities will retain authority to register businesses below the threshold without a fee, and BLS will allow this no fee option. Cities will also retain authority to issue and charge a fee for regulatory licenses. The mandatory definition will be available and adopted within two years.
  • Allocation and apportionment of service income: A work group of cities with a B&O tax and businesses will be formed to draft changes to the apportionment of service income under RCW 35.102.130. The group will report the proposed changes to the Legislature by October 31, 2017.
  • Data sharing: The task force recommends the Legislature appropriate funding for an independent feasibility study to be conducted that will evaluate ways to create a more seamless and simplified experience for businesses to apply for a business license between BLS and the city tax and licensing portal, FileLocal. The study is to be completed by January 1, 2018.

The task force’s final report detailing these recommendations will be released late this month. In addition, cities and businesses are crafting legislation with the intent to have a bill in the 2017 legislative session that cities and business can jointly promote.  

If you would like more information about the task force recommendations and next steps, please feel free to contact AWC’s Victoria Lincoln or Serena Dolly. We have also posted more information about the task force here.

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Environment & land use

AWC actively monitoring possible legislative responses to the Hirst decision

In October, the Washington State Supreme Court decided a major water resources case, Hirst v Whatcom County, and held among other things that counties have an independent duty under the Growth Management Act to determine the legal availability of water before issuing building permits, irrespective of any action or inaction by the State Department of Ecology. This may have a significant impact on water management in the state and presents a whole host of unanswered questions about the management of water by counties, and potentially cities, if this ruling moves forward unchanged by the legislature.

We are actively discussing the Hirst decision with cities and municipal water attorneys to determine potential impacts. Right now, we are hearing from those involved that they don’t believe there are direct impacts to cities because of the regulations and requirements in place for city water systems and the lack of new permit-exempt wells in cities. If you believe that this decision will have an impact on your city, please let us know.

We do anticipate legislation this session to address this issue for counties, and we will be closely tracking it to monitor any indirect impacts on cities for water or GMA regulations, and for opportunities to ensure that cities have access to a well-functioning water management system that allows us to secure water for our current and future needs. Please contact Carl Schroeder if you would like to be involved in these efforts. Stay tuned in this space for future updates.

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Housing

AWC is working on a multi-faceted housing, homelessness and accountability agenda

AWC has worked through the course of the last year to develop and build support for a coordinated response to addressing affordable housing and homelessness. We will be working on a multi-pronged agenda during this upcoming session as well as looking for all other opportunities to help cities address challenges with housing and homelessness.

Highlights of this agenda include:

  • Increase resources and accountability within the homelessness system.
  • Invest state capital construction dollars in new affordable units and to preserve existing units.
  • Create new local tools to incentivize new development, preserve existing development and to invest in affordability within the local community.
  • Address the regulatory environment and make housing development across the income spectrum more successful.
  • Maximize the state’s effective pursuit of the Medicaid transformation to provide better health outcomes.

To see a more detailed summary of this agenda click here.

Please contact Carl Schroeder and Jane Wall if you would like to help work on any of these items or if you have specific challenges or opportunities in your city that we should know about as we work with the state to address these problems.

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Infrastructure

AWC is working on a new strategy to refresh the city state infrastructure partnership

Thirty years ago, Washington established the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF), creating a national model – the first revolving loan fund for community infrastructure. It has proven to be one of the state’s great success stories, lending $2.6 billion to small, mid-size, and larger jurisdictions for infrastructure projects. Since the program’s inception, there has never been a loan default.

Even with that history the PWTF is now imperiled. Since 2013, the Legislature has redirected the fund’s accounts to help balance the State General and education funds.

Going forward, rather than seeing this critical program eliminated or further depleted, AWC will recommend refreshing the state infrastructure strategy with a centerpiece of updating and retooling the PWTF for the next 30 years. We have been working with a large group of stakeholders to develop this idea. With this article we hope to give you an outline of the proposal as it stands today. As we move forward, working with legislators, our partners and other interest groups, and you, our members we expect this proposal to evolve and improve.

Principles

  • Support and incentivize a smarter infrastructure investment discipline that delivers more value, multiple benefits, better asset and risk management, and improved cost-effectiveness for every dollar we spend on infrastructure.
  • Build on the best of the original Public Works Trust Fund, such as ease of paperwork and flexibility. PWTF 2.0 will not impose unfunded mandates on local jurisdictions. It will provide local communities that need help with the technical assistance to take advantage of best practices and new innovations in infrastructure planning, design, and investment.
  • The state needs a coherent and comprehensive local infrastructure investment strategy. This strategy must recognize the critical role for the state to play in local infrastructure investment, that different local governments and communities need different types of assistance, and must ensure that each local government has a responsibility to have local “skin in the game.”

Objectives

Short term (2017 session)

  • Commit to retaining public works loan repayments and remaining 2% of Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) revenues in a reformed Public Works Trust Fund 2.0. The state has shown in recent years a willingness to divert all public works resources to other budget priorities. In the short term it is time to commit to preserving at least the loan repayments and small amount of REET that remain flowing into the public works assistance account to ensure we have a base to rebuild a better and stronger infrastructure partnership.
  • Reform the PWTF: Smaller and more targeted, better ranking, new responsibilities for applicants and different benefits for different communities.
  • Public Works Board required to prioritize and rank all projects, with amended criteria to encourage cost effectiveness, long term resilience and multiple benefits.

    New responsibilities for the applicants that result in smarter, strategic long-term investment and management best practices.
    • Requirement to undertake value planning at the crucial pre-design project stage, where the greatest productivity gains and cost savings can be found. This will ensure that investments are right-sized and all opportunities for efficiencies have been considered. This value planning process is funded with PWTF resources.
    • Applicants for rate-supported utility infrastructure must provide a long-term financial plan to demonstrate a sound maintenance and repayment program is in place. The state is supporting but not supplanting local effort.
    • Sustainable Asset Management best practices must be in place to ensure preservation of state and local investments over the long term.
  • Different benefits for different communities. We have heard some legislators state a preference for directing support to small and financially distressed communities. Rather than providing access to the same subsidy for all communities, low interest loans will be provided on a sliding scale and the Public Works Board would be given direction to provide preference to smaller communities with limited capacity to assemble complex financing deals.
    • Smaller communities and financially distressed utilities that need state assistance to afford substantial infrastructure investments will be the priority focus of PWTF 2.0. In exchange for this assistance they will commit to the best practices detailed above. In addition to accessing the low interest loans under PWTF they will have access to a new grant program and a debt pooling program.
    • Larger communities which are home to the economies, construction activity, and real estate transactions that generate the bulk of the PWTF’s tax proceeds will remain eligible - but for a different set of benefits. Smaller, less generous low-interest loans will still be offered to provide a stable funding source for utility based infrastructure – but those will be pegged much closer to market rate. Non-utility supported infrastructure would receive attractive interest rates in recognition of the fact that general fund capacity remains strained across all types and sizes of jurisdictions.
  • More targeted financial assistance options. The Public Works Board is directed to develop and size a program to provide grants, forgivable loans, interest rate buy-downs, assistance to leverage federal programs and other opportunities to target deeper financial assistance to communities with economic distress or projects that would result in rate increases to residential sewer rates that exceed a determined percentage of median household income.
  • Establish a program to enable communities with poor debt ratings to access the private bond market. Pass an equivalent to Senator Keiser’s SB 5624 to develop a new program through the treasury to allow communities access to the private bond market without affecting the state’s debt rating.

Medium term (with activities to be completed in time to influence the 2019 biennial budget)

An interagency process improvement team shall be charged with identifying and implementing system improvements that result in:

  • Projects that are designed to meet the unique needs of the community, rather than the needs of particular funding programs.
  • The ability to plan across programs and jurisdictions, so that different investments are packaged to be complementary and appropriately sequenced, and that the projects maximize value, minimize overall costs and disturbance to the community, and ensure long-term durability and resilience.
  • Project designs that maximize long-term value, by fully considering and responding to the long-term environmental, technological, economic and population changes coming at us.
  • The flexibility to innovate, including utilizing natural systems, addressing multiple regulatory drivers, and forming regional partnerships.
  • The needed capacity for communities, appropriate to their unique financial, planning and management capacities, so they can design, finance and build projects that meet their long term needs while minimizing costs.
  • Optimal use and leveraging of federal and private infrastructure dollars.
  • Mechanisms to ensure periodic, system-wide review and ongoing achievement of the designated outcomes.

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Marijuana

Marijuana industry beats revenue expectations again

Marijuana sales and tax revenues continue to beat expectations. Data from the Liquor Cannabis Board (LCB) below show the drastic difference between initial excise tax estimates from 2013 and recently updated projections from June 2016.

Fiscal year

Initial tax forecast (2013)

Current tax forecast (2016)

2015

$36.3 million

$64.9 million

2016

$80.0 million

$164.0 million

2017

$119.8 million

$272.0 million

2018

$160.2 million

$330.4 million

2019

$193.5 million

$363.1 million

The LCB also updates a Weekly Marijuana Report Dashboard website (http://lcb.wa.gov/marj/dashboard) which shows info on licensing, production, sales, and compliance. The site also links to interactive GIS maps that show the locations of retail stores and producer/processor facilities. The financial information below shows some of the information available on the dashboard.

Marijuana sales activity

Total sales to date (since July 8, 2014) $1.89 billion

  • FY 2015: $259.7 million
  • FY 2016: $972.7 million
  • FY 2017: $664.8 million

Average daily sales – $4.4 million in average daily sales

Excise tax revenue

Total excise Tax to date (since July 8, 2014): $ 374.6 million

  • FY 2015: $64.9 million
  • FY 2016: $185.7 million
  • FY 2017: $124 million

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Open government

PRA stakeholder group on verge of concluding, legislative proposals in the works

Rep. Joan McBride (D-Kirkland) and Rep. Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) convened a group of stakeholders over the interim to discuss challenges and possible solutions to public records issues. The stakeholder group is large and includes varied interests including cities and other local governments, newspapers, commercial records users, state agencies, and the Washington Coalition for Open Government. The group has met four times since June and plans to meet a final time on December 14. This final meeting is to review draft language around a few changes to public records laws.

The groups focused its work on four areas: authorizing a small fee for producing electronic copies of records; allowing for a small fee for providing customized access (non-routine specialized work) to records; establishing an alternative dispute resolution process; funding grants to assist jurisdictions with improvements to their records management programs; addressing extraordinary requests for all of an agency’s records and computer automated “bot” requests; and addressing agency responsiveness through model ordinance updates and other tools.

We anticipate that the legislators who are working on the proposals will have legislation ready to go when the 2017 session begins in January. We are very appreciative to Reps. McBride and Nealey for taking the lead and to Rep. Springer (D-Kirkland) and Rep. Senn (D-Mercer Island) for also stepping up to help draft proposals.

As you are talking with your legislators, please convey to them the importance your city places on open government and the investment that you make in upholding the Public Records Act. Cities are the stewards of open government and we need to talk about that commitment as well as the need for revisions to the law so that we can continue that commitment.

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Personnel

 

LEOFF 2 Board completes merger study

During the 2016 session, the Senate considered a bill to merge the LEOFF 1 (Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’) and TRS 1 (Teachers’ Retirement System) pensions systems. While the bill did not advance, the final budget directed the Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) to study a possible LEOFF 1 and TRS 1 merger and to update a 2011 study on a potential LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 systems merger.

The LEOFF 2 Board has completed an updated report on a potential LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 merger. The report makes no recommendations but does conclude that it is possible to merge the two pension systems in a way that should withstand legal challenge and be approved by the Internal Revenue Service. LEOFF 1 retiree groups have said that they will challenge any proposed merger in court. The merger would also be subject to IRS approval which would take a minimum of 6 months for its review.

The SCPP is meeting on December 13, and they will release their study of a possible LEOFF 1 and TRS 1 merger at that meeting. Based on earlier briefings, we anticipate that the conclusions will be similar: a legal merger is possible.

AWC has not taken a position on merging pensions systems. However, AWC has developed a list of policy issues cities would need addressed should a merger be proposed. One of those policy positions is that should a merger occur that would withdraw any of the surplus funds out of LEOFF 1, then cities should get a proportionate share of those surplus funds to help offset our medical benefit cost obligations for LEOFF 1 retirees. The report clarifies that it is possible under IRS rules to withdraw surplus funds only if they are used for medical benefits and only for funds in excess of a 125 percent fully funded system. Currently the LEOFF 1 system is 125.47 percent funded which would mean about $25 million would fall into the category of being available for distribution for medical costs.

At this time no formal merger proposals have been released. AWC will continue to monitor this process closely.

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Employers seek workers’ compensation reforms

Citing a number of concerns, a coalition of employer representatives is advocating for reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation system. The employers argue that Washington continues to pay the highest benefits per covered worker and has climbed to the 15th highest premiums in the nation. In addition, employers are concerned that the average days off work for injured employees in Washington is twice the national average.

As a result, employer representatives have identified five priorities for the 2017 legislative session:

  1. Occupational disease reform: Ensure allowed claims arise out of and in the course of work.
  2. Structured settlement reform: Expand who is allowed to settle their non-medical claims.
  3. Benefit accuracy & simplification: Make benefits fair to all workers and not a disincentive to work.
  4. Third-party claims: Prioritize reimbursement to L&I or self-insured employers for costs advanced on those claims.
  5. Self-insured claims: Allow greater claims management authority for self-insured employers.

AWC has been monitoring workers’ compensation reform discussions closely. We have also expressed concerns to L&I about double-digit rate increases for fire-fighters in recent years, asked for more information about how the rates are set, and requested that L&I partner with cities to minimize future rate increases.

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Court halts implementation of new FLSA rule

The new FLSA rule – which was set to take effect on December 1, 2016 – has been temporarily enjoined by a federal trial court in Texas. The new rule would have more than doubled the minimum salary level for “white collar” exempt employees from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually). Given the injunction, employers can continue to rely on and apply the existing salary threshold.

Publication of AWC’s 2016 edition of the Washington State Public Employer Overtime Guide was placed on hold given the litigation challenging the new FLSA rule. In response to the temporary injunction on the rule, the Guide will be updated to reflect the current state of the law and made available later this month. Consult your legal counsel for advice about what this means for your city or town.

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New minimum wage takes effect on January 1

Voters approved an increase to the state’s minimum wage with Initiative 1433, and beginning January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will increase to $11. The initiative then requires annual increases until minimum wage reaches $13.50 in 2020. After that, it will again be indexed to inflation.

This increase should not affect the vast majority of city employees, but cities should check their pay scales and any policies that might be linked to the state’s minimum wage.

The initiative’s minimum sick leave requirements won’t take effect until January 1, 2018. After that date, employees must earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

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Public safety & criminal justice

State task force concludes and recommends changes to deadly force law

The Joint Legislative Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing had its final meeting on November 21 and delivered its final report on December 10. Kelly Harris, Chief Criminal Prosecutor for the City of Seattle, served as AWC’s representative on the body. The task force reviewed state and federal standards for using deadly force, practices for investigating officer-involved shootings, police training and funding, and data on deadly force incidents. Meetings were, at times, contentious for the 26-member task force.

The final report included a number of recommendations including the most discussed issue, amending RCW 9A.16.040 relating to a peace officer’s criminal liability protection in a deadly force incident. By a slim margin (14 in favor – ten opposed – two abstaining), the task force recommended amending the statute to read: (3) A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force if a reasonable officer would have believed the use of deadly force was necessary in light of all the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time. The report includes other recommendations related to independent investigations of officer involved shootings, greater law enforcement training on numerous topics, use of force data collection, and funding the state’s behavioral health system.

The report has been sent to the legislature which may or may not move forward with its recommendations. The entire report can be read here including a joint minority report written by task force members representing AWC and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

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Transportation

What do legislators and staff see as big issues to tackle in the transportation world in 2017?

The Washington Highway Users Federation (WHUF) held their interim briefing on December 6 to update stakeholders on the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package and what to expect on the transportation front in 2017.

Governor Inslee Policy Advisor Charles Knuston, OFM Budget Assistant Jay Balasbas, Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima), Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama) and Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) were all on hand to provide their perspectives on what to expect during the coming session.

On the executive side, Balasbas reported to anticipate Governor Inslee to focus on continued rollout of the Connecting Washington package, with little changes to its current form. Compensation will also take center-stage, specifically, for personnel in the Washington State Patrol, Department of Transportation engineers and ferry workers. Washington has also just issued an RFP on a new tolling customer service provider, a process that will take 2-2 ½ years to complete.

Finally, the REAL ID Act will be a major focus. REAL ID was passed by Congress in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission recommended the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” Washington State is not in compliance with the federal standards, and after failing to receive a compliance extension earlier this year, Washington will need to tackle this issue or risk its residents not having appropriate identification to do things like board airplanes and access federal buildings.

Following Balasbas and Knutson’s presentations, Sens. Hobbs and King, and Rep. Orcutt shared their views of what they see on the horizon for 2017. All three agreed REAL ID will be a major focus in the Legislature. In addition, of note:

  • Sen. King spoke to the backlog of projects in the queue and lack of funds to pay for them. He announced “new revenue” must be a consideration to pay for these projects. These projects include, but are not limited to, the Snohomish County trestle project, Columbia River Crossing, outstanding issues on Highways 12 and 18 and the Bridge of the Gods in Hood River.
  • Sen. King and Rep. Orcutt touched on the freeway congestion issues the Seattle area is facing, and the rapid growth it is experiencing, and will experience, over the next decade. They both questioned how the transportation system will deal with this growth, citing the lack of capacity that exists.
  • Sen. Hobbs spoke to the need for ferry maintenance and the lack of dry dock space available in Washington.
  • Sen. Hobbs and Sen. King spoke about the Road Usage Charge (RUC) study and the ongoing conversations that need to occur in 2017.
  • Rep. Orcutt talked about the Alaskan Way Viaduct project and the cost overruns it has experienced. He maintained that the state would not pay for those overruns, and pointed to Seattle as the responsible party to pony up the bill.

While some have argued 2017 will be a relatively quiet year in the transportation world, the list above is indicates that might not be the case. AWC will continue to monitor and weigh in when necessary on these, and other transportation-related topics.

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Telecommunications

Small cell networks

The Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee recently held a work session on 5G Wireless technology. Telecommunications industry representatives gave an overview of this subject to the committee, and talked about how they view the role of local governments in their quest to roll out small cell networks that will be needed to deploy 5G technology. Some of the issues raised were about land use regulations and access to the ROW, costs and fees charged by local governments, the need for streamlined permitting process, and the benefits of deploying these new, smaller networks.

It appears there will be a bill on this subject in the coming legislative session, and to prepare for that, AWC is convening a city workgroup to do the following: 1) discuss with industry representatives the issues important to local communities, 2) analyze and communicate the impacts of draft legislation to local elected officials and legislators, and 3) provide technical assistance and timely feedback during the legislative session as this issue moves through the process.

There are reasons to be cautious with regards to this issue, and AWC is working to keep cities in the loop as the session progresses. Please let Victoria Lincoln or Dave Catterson know if you are interested in more detail.

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Take action

 

Adopt your city legislative agenda and share it
If you haven’t already adopted your city’s legislative agenda, you should soon – session will be here before you know it! Visit our website to see examples of other cities’ legislative agendas and send us your 2017 agenda so we can post it. Also, be sure to share what your city needs with the media.

 

Mayors Exchange
January 18 | Olympia
Gather for this special lobby day accompanied by an engaging daylong session to network with fellow mayors, city managers, and administrators and talk about your city budgets, share news from home, and interact with legislators on important city issues. Register now!

 

City Action Days!  
February 15-16 | Olympia
Held annually during the legislative session, City Action Days is AWC's two-day legislative conference that brings city and town officials to Olympia to learn about our priorities and push the city agenda forward. Register now!

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Media time


Cities 101 – Revenues and expenses

This Cities 101 video focuses on city revenues and expenses. Share to inform community members about where city revenues come from, the important city services they support, and that vibrant cities need reliable and stable revenue to fund the many things we love about our cities.

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