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

Published on Friday, February 22, 2013

Where do AWC Priorities stand at first bill cut-off?

February 22 is the deadline for any legislation changing or creating new policy to pass out of the committee that deals with the subject, or it likely won’t be considered until next year. What this means for bills impacting cities is that our team is literally running the halls of the Capitol and legislative buildings trying to ensure that helpful legislation “stays alive” and harmful bills “die.” Within this Bulletin, you’ll find detailed information about what we’re working on and how to get more information on those things you care about most.

(Not subject to this deadline is legislation related to transportation or the state budget, which are supposed to move from committee by March 1. In reality, anything deemed necessary to implement the state budget lives until the gavel falls and session ends.)

We continue to focus on AWC’s priorities, which include a combination of policy and budget-related issues. Most of our priorities survived the first bill cutoff and continue to be considered by the Legislature.

  • We continue our efforts to restore local liquor revenues and have introduced companion bills (HB 1368 and SB 5703) with bipartisan support. These bills impact the state budget and remain “alive.”
  • The long-anticipated introduction of a new transportation funding package (HB 1954) occurred this week. It includes significant new revenue for both state and local needs and already has strong proponents and opponents.
  • Our bills that maintain flexibility in use of local lodging tax revenue (HB 1253 and SB 5262) survived the cutoff in both chambers.
  • Priority public records legislation, HB 1128, continues to move forward and currently awaits action in the House. We continue to work with sponsors to refine the bill in ways that work for cities while addressing some of the opponents’ concerns.
  • City authority and flexibility in business licensing and taxing is under scrutiny in the Senate (SB 5656 and SB 5688). We’re actively engaged in discussions about how to help sustain and expand business activity in ways that respect local needs and priorities.
  • In concert with business, labor, and environmental groups, we continue to stress the importance of maintaining funds for critical infrastructure funding programs like the Public Works Trust Fund and Model Toxics Control Fund accounts. We won’t know how vulnerable these accounts are until proposed budgets are unveiled after March 20.
  • We’re following the variety of job creation and retention proposals and, again, won’t have a clearer picture of which, if any, will gain traction until later in the session.
  • Finally, we were sometimes discouraged – but not deterred – in our efforts to convince the state to refrain from imposing new mandates. Bright spots include our efforts to adjust the ones now imposed (such as SSB 5099 dealing with alternative fuel usage for city fleets – and we’ve worked to find near consensus on a better approach) or figure out how to make more sense of responding to public records requests (HB 1128). At a time when the state is highly attuned to finding ways to trim unnecessary costs and prioritize expenditures, we must continue to remind policy makers that they can help cities do the same by addressing mandates they pass on to you.

Legislators are now turning their attention to debating bills on the House or Senate floor and making decisions on what issues remain in play. Between now and March 13, when the House and Senate must each decide which bills “live or die,” it is critical for you to communicate with your legislators on matters you most care about.

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