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Published on Friday, May 17, 2013

All quiet on the Olympia front

The 30-day legislative Special Session convened on Monday, May 13. Nonetheless, hardly anyone showed up – that’s because they’re trying to keep costs down and the fact there isn't yet much to consider and debate.

Instead, the Governor, legislative leaders and their key staff are meeting quietly to exchange budget numbers and attempt to find agreement on the one thing they absolutely have to accomplish – adoption of a biennial budget needed to fund state government starting on July 1.

AWC continues to urge leadership and budget writers to maintain revenues shared with cities and to refrain from shifting critical infrastructure funds away from capital needs and into the state general fund. This past week, AWC sent an Action Alert asking cities to again contact legislators to remind them of the importance of continued sharing of liquor revenues. Most legislators are home until called back to debate budget proposals hammered out by leadership, so now is an excellent time to connect with them.

We're also paying close attention to how the Governor reacts to passed legislation still awaiting his signature. Bills passed during the regular 105-day session must be signed or vetoed (in full or in part) by no later than May 21. Most passed bills of interest to cities have been signed, but a few remain, including one providing more flexibility in the mandate to convert local government fleets and equipment to alternative fuels (SB 5099). Look for updates on the Governor’s actions in next Wednesday's CityVoice.

As reported within this Bulletin, there has been action this past week on issues related to possible tightening up of drunk driving laws and the Liquor Control Board has issued proposed rules on how they'll look at implementing I-502, the marijuana legalization measure passed last November. Efforts also continue to craft a Transportation Revenue package and helping you understand what might be in it and how, if interested, you can help make it happen.

We'll continue to keep you posted on efforts to wrap up this Special Session by June 12.