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Advocacy

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

Published on Friday, January 27, 2017

AWC priority policy bills on the move

Entering week four of an (at least) 15-week legislative session, a number of AWC priority bills have been introduced. Some have already had public hearings.

Liquor revenue

AWC priority bill HB 1113 gradually increases the amount of liquor profits distributed to cities and counties until reinstating the traditional percentage based sharing formula in state fiscal year 2025.  AWC Vice President and Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent did a great job reminding House Appropriations Committee members of the importance of these funds that help support key public safety services. That was echoed by Kent’s Police Chief, our partners in counties, and a representative of grocery stores who need and rely on our services to sustain their businesses.

Homelessness, housing and human services

Numerous committees in both the House and Senate have conducted work sessions to explore how communities are impacted and how they are responding to the interwoven epidemics of homelessness and problems with the behavioral and physical health system. Several local officials like Everett Mayor Ray Stephenson have shared their community’s challenges, how they are responding, and the need for state assistance. Several bills that include some AWC policy and funding priorities have rolled out. HB 1570 produced lots of testimony in support of eliminating expiration of the document recording fee that provides critical funding in support of sheltering and serving homeless people. This same provision is contained in SB 5254 heard in the Senate, but doesn’t contain a fee increase like HB 1570. There are several other bills with different takes on how to fund, address, and evaluate programs aimed at these challenges and we’re encouraged that there seems to be growing interest in finding help for those in need.

Public records

Our efforts to raise awareness and find consensus on modernizing the Public Records Act to help government be more responsive and efficient seem to be having positive impact. Several bipartisan bills were introduced this past week. HB 1594 and HB 1595 seek to improve public records administration and provide some additional resources associated with responding to these requests. Click here for more information about these bills We’re very appreciative of the hard work undertaken over the past months by key legislators and a wide array of stakeholders and are looking forward to hearings soon on these bills.

Infrastructure

We are continuing to explore ideas and alternatives on how best to re-engage the state in helping maintain and expand our critical municipal infrastructure. Just introduced with bipartisan support are companion bills HB 1677 and SB 5496, which would build back a reformed Public Works Assistance account from loan repayments and a small amount of remaining tax revenue. Another series of bills with a variety of bipartisan sponsors (HB 1501, HB 1324 and SB 5033) have been introduced to help communities access the private bond market with more favorable terms. We view it as encouraging that a growing number of members in both chambers are considering how to restore the needed funding partnership.

Now is a great time to let your legislators hear from you which ones you need and why. As suggested in our updated Strong Cities Pocket Guide, making and sustaining those connections by phone, email and in person, are what it takes to keep these issues front and center.

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