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Published on Friday, May 8, 2015

Limited budget progress visible

The Capitol is almost like a ghost town. There are few sightings of legislators, as most of those who are not negotiating budgets are home in their districts and those negotiating are staying quiet for the most part. That’s to be expected until there’s something they can discuss with their caucuses. As such, there’s not much to report this week.

We continue to connect with legislators as they wander in and out of town. This past week we focused our communications with Senators. We had several constructive discussions, including one with Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond), the Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Among the items we discussed was clarifying to him that AWC appreciates both the Senate and House proposals to fund critical public works projects. We shared our concern that at this point the Senate’s approach doesn’t outline a “plan” to fund projects beyond this upcoming biennium. He shared he was working on ideas about that and we look forward to more discussions.

While behind the scenes discussions about budgets continue, we are working with our partner, the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), to develop and provide cities with information about legislation impacting you that has already passed. Be on the lookout for more information on local implementation of:

  • Changes to how medical marijuana is regulated (SB 5052);
  • New requirements to allow for delayed collection of GMA impact fees (SB 5923); and
  • A new tool for cities interested in funding the upfront costs associated with new water and sewer lines to support development with developers paying back later (commonly referred to as “latecomers”), similar to existing city authority for streets (SB 5795).

We continue to hope the Governor and legislative leadership can forge agreements that will allow them to complete their work during May so another special session isn’t necessary. As soon as they conclude their work we’ll produce a summary of key actions impacting cities. After the Governor acts on bills and budget items, we’ll produce our comprehensive Final Legislative Bulletin. In the meantime, you will continue to receive our weekly updates.