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

Published on Friday, December 19, 2014

Governor rolls out initiatives and takes first step in long budget process

Governor Inslee rolled out a series of initiatives this week, one each day, culminating in the release of his proposed budget on Thursday. The Governor is a major player because he has the bully pulpit and the veto pen. How he uses either and how the public responds to his priorities and messages – time will tell.

Monday: Education

The Governor proposes a $2.3 billion package with $1.3 billion in new spending for K-12 education to address McCleary. Legislators may not agree that this is the amount needed to address the Supreme Courts directive to increase funding for basic education. Some will say it’s not enough, others will say it’s too much. This will be a significant topic of negotiation as legislators wrestle with trying to come to agreement on a new biennial budget. And it has implications for determining how much revenue they need and where it will come from.

Read more about the Governor’s proposal here.

Tuesday: Transportation

The Governor rolled out a 12-year $12 billion transportation package that is funded primarily through a new tax on carbon pollution. You can read about how his proposal measures up against AWC’s legislative priority on transportation here. It’s a mixed bag for cities.

Wednesday: Reducing carbon pollution and transitioning to clean energy

This initiative includes a new carbon tax, alternative fuel vehicle incentives, a clean fuel standard, clean energy incentives and new investments in energy efficiency for buildings, agriculture and industries. On initial review there are no clear immediate and direct impacts on cities. Read more here.

Thursday: The budget

The Governor released his budget proposal and most of the news was good for cities. Get the details here.

Looking towards the 2015 legislative session

Anyone with an eye on Olympia knows the 2015 session will focus on the budget and how and where funds will be found to support K-12 education needs and everything else that matters. AWC has been sharing this message with city officials and others for months and has attempted to heighten awareness of city needs and why engaging legislators is so important.

The new legislature will look different from the last one. By the numbers, the Senate Republicans hold a majority (25-24) and again one of the Democrats will caucus and act with the majority. In the House, the Democrat’s majority has narrowed to 51-47. In both chambers, finding consensus across the aisle may be challenging or it may provide opportunities for middle of the road solutions.

Over the next several months, we’ll work to keep you informed and will ask you more than ever in recent memory, to stay connected to your legislators. If they don’t know what you need and want, they can’t help your city. If they’re not helping you even if you ask, you need to ask again.

Be on the lookout for more about the upcoming session and tips on how you can be engaged whether in or away from Olympia. It’s all part of Operation Strong Cities.

New Bulletin format

This December edition of our Legislative Bulletin ushers in an updated format intended to help our readers focus in on hot topics and bills or issues you need to know about at particular times. With the 2015 legislative session beginning January 12 and so much at stake for cities, our weekly editions will come to you every Friday starting January 9.