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

Published on Monday, January 29, 2018

What city officials heard in Olympia

During gatherings both on and off the Capitol Campus, officials from 120 cities and towns heard legislators, administration officials, and representatives of key interest groups share their perspectives on key issues and AWC’s legislative priorities.

There was general consensus that:

  • Even with Democrats now holding slim majorities in both the House and Senate, and with state revenues continuing to exceed projections, it’s unlikely there’s an appetite for enacting significant new revenues.
  • This is a “short” 60-day session intended to make adjustments to the recently-adopted biennial budget, and majority Democrats appear bent on completing their work on time and heading home by March 8.
  • With the K-12 McCleary funding battles mostly behind them, there are other court-mandated funding challenges, such as adequately funding services at Western State Hospital.
  • While we don’t anticipate cuts to revenues shared with cities, AWC proposals to add revenues or fund new ideas will have to compete for a relatively small amount of new funding.
  • More housing is needed for a growing population and particularly for those on our streets.
  • Mental health services need better focus and more funding.
  • Everyone seems interested in helping spread the strong economy found in major urban areas to other parts of the state, but aren’t quite sure how to do that.
  • There’s relief and a sense of returning good will among legislators after they finally passed a capital budget and agree upon fixes to some thorny water resources issues.

What lies ahead – Session cutoffs

As we enter the fourth week of an eight-week session, the focus turns to meeting the February 2 deadline to move or stop bills considered before policy committees. If bills without a fiscal impact on the state don’t move by this Friday, they are less likely to see life again this session. This deadline doesn’t apply to bills that have already passed from one chamber to the other, such as SB 6002 dealing with establishing a Washington Voting Rights Act, which we expect will continue to be discussed and considered.

The next important deadline is February 6, when any policy bill having a fiscal impact on the state is supposed to move forward from a fiscal committee, otherwise it is also unlikely to have further consideration. By Valentine’s Day, all policy bills that either the House or Senate want to keep moving through the process must be passed in that chamber for consideration by the other. On February 15, the next state revenue forecast is released (and it’s expected to continue to show an uptick) and soon thereafter the House unveils supplemental budget ideas. At that point, the budget is the focus.

Curious about cutoff dates? Check out the Legislature’s cutoff calendar, and watch this video where Jane Wall and I discuss what the cutoff dates mean for the life of a bill.

The strong chorus of voices from home is critical!

Having almost 400 officials in town meeting and talking about city issues with their legislators was both highly visible and extremely helpful. Many thanks! Over the coming weeks, there remain opportunities to check in with your legislators and highlight issues of importance to your communities. We’ll continue to provide updates through the Bulletin and our Wednesday newsletter CityVoice, as well as with issue-specific action alerts when necessary. We look forward to hosting a Mayor’s Exchange at our AWC offices on February 21 when the Governor will come speak to attendees and there will be opportunities to go to the Capitol to meet with legislators.