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Bill #:  5013

Not tracked  Oppose

Requiring voter approval for annexations

Companion bill #: No Companion Bill.

Senate - FLOOR - DEAD

Summary/AWC comments

This bill did not pass out of the Senate by the March 13 cutoff and is dead for this session.

This bill is problematic for cities as it would significantly change the most commonly used annexation method that has been in place for nearly 70 years and known as the petition method. AWC opposed
SB 5013 as it passed out of the Senate Committee and as it now sits on the Senate Calendar for possible passage. It hasn't yet been brought to the floor for a vote because prime sponsor Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) has been working on amendments to try address AWC concerns.


Sen. Benton has prepared a shorter version of the bill and did address several of our earlier concerns – we appreciate that. He has given us a short amount of time to review and get comments from cities. We've sent it to a number of them for review and encourage others to look at it here. We will soon get back to him to share policy and technical drafting concerns. Cities with concerns are asked to share them with AWC and your Senator(s).

The changes in the proposed substitute would still allow cities to annex lands by ordinance using the property-owner petition method ONLY if the area to be annexed includes land covered by a pre-annexation agreement, defined within the bill as an agreement to extend utility services in exchange for agreement for future annexation. (See Sections 2 and 3 of the amendment above.)

If lands without a pre-annexation agreement are included (such as lands between city limits and property with a pre-annexation agreement, or lands adjacent to them), annexation could only occur with voter agreement. If more than 100 voters are in the area, an election is required. If there are fewer than 100 voters, at least half must give “written consent.”

AWC remains concerned that only lands contiguous to city boundaries and with pre-annexation agreements can be annexed without a vote and no consideration is given to "logical boundary" issues often looked by Boundary Review Boards.

For more information, or to share your concerns please contact Dave Williams or Dave Catterson.

Summary of the bill as it emerged from the Senate Governmental operations Committee:

As amended the bill requires a vote when there are more than 100 registered voters In an annexation area.  If there are fewer than 100 it requires “written consent” from at least half of the registered voters in the annexation area. It applies to ALL available annexation methods.

The vast majority of annexations are small undeveloped, or underdeveloped areas and the process to annex is initiated by the property owner(s). If this bill passes, future annexations will be determined by voters rather than property owners.

In addition it would call into question cities’ ability to enforce utility extension agreements, a commonly used tool whereby cities provide utility services outside of their corporate boundaries in exchange for the property owner’s commitment to annex to the city at an appropriate time. These agreements provide property owners with public services when property owners need them, while allowing for the orderly expansion of cities and towns.



Latest version of bill:

Link to WA Legislative bill page

Official title:

AN ACT Relating to annexations;



Go To Bill #


AWC Contacts

Analyst:  Dave Catterson
Lobbyist:  Dave Williams

Issue Area

Land Use & Housing

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