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Published on Friday, February 5, 2016

Hearing scheduled for bill that requires cities to enter into binding mediation in certain circumstances

A new bill proposed by Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) would require a city, town or county to enter into mediation if another city, town or county brings forward a request for mediation. Under SB 6645, when a city, town or county has a conflict with another city, town or county, they may request the names of three mediators from the Attorney General’s Office. All parties must choose from the pool of mediators, unless both parties agree to use another mediator.

The legislation states “The mediator will hear the issues from both sides and render a binding decision based on the best interests of the taxpayers involved.” Costs must be divided evenly between the two.

AWC has concerns with the legislation. Among these, cities would like jurisdictions to be allowed to work these problems out with one another, not through a binding mediation process. We are also uncertain of the reason for this legislation, as it appears unprecedented and unnecessary.

The bill had a public hearing in the Senate Government Operations & Security Committee on February 4 and was amended and passed out of committee.

Categories: General government