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Published on Monday, February 27, 2017

Focus on floor action until March 8 – add your voice now on key bills

The crop of policy bills poised for consideration in either the House or Senate has narrowed down. The list of bills AWC is focused on advancing or expressing concerns with this week is listed here: House, Senate.

Beginning Monday, February 27, both chambers will develop and work through lists of bills they will take to the floor for votes. This step in the process ends at 5 pm on March 8, so over the coming days you are encouraged to add your voices by calling or emailing your legislators to ask them for help to advance or stop key bills.

This edition of our Bulletin details policy bills we are aiming to advance, such as public records modernization, tools to address housing and homelessness challenges, and a significant compromise on the use of deadly force by law enforcement personnel. None of the bills are “slam dunks,” and therefore your reinforcing messages can make a difference.

Several bills are poised for consideration, but will need amendments in order to gain our full support. This includes HB 2005, dealing with how cities manage local business licenses and B&O tax collections. We are hopeful that amendments supported by cities and the business community will garner support, but again, that is not a guarantee.

At this point in the session, few troublesome policy bills remain that are likely to make it through both chambers and across the Governor’s desk for signature. However, there are some that we are concerned will preempt local authority and interfere with current revenue authorities. One such bill, SB 5254, is aimed at deployment of new telecommunications technology that relies upon “small cell” installations in public rights of way. As with most bills of concern, we are working on compromise language that can provide a “win-win” for all those engaged.

Finally, you will notice there are several policy issues not listed, such as how to address a host of thorny water resource and infrastructure funding issues. These bills have a fiscal impact on the state’s budget and get a temporary “pass” from the March 8 floor action deadline. Work continues on these, and we will report on progress, or lack thereof, in the weeks to come.

Remember please – a timely contact from home both reinforces messages your AWC team shares with them, but remind legislators of the real at-home impacts of decisions they are pondering. This is true now and even more so in the weeks ahead as the thorny issues around budgets are debated.