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Published on Friday, May 24, 2013

Governor acts on bills, while the special session sputters on

Governor Inslee had until May 21 to sign or veto bills passed during the regular legislative session. Most notable for cities was his signing of SB 5099 which clarifies which city vehicles and powered equipment need to convert to alternative fuels. Thanks to some intense lobbying by cities, you now are provided greater discretion on what needs to be converted and the deadlines to make the changes. Stay tuned for a Department of Commerce rule-making process that will further define exactly how and when conversions will occur.

The Governor also signed HB 1552 that helps address problematic metal thefts. The bill creates a licensing plan for scrap metal business, establishes a no-buy list, and expands criminal penalties for theft. The Governor did veto one section that required funding for the bill to take effect – something that won’t be known until legislators agree to a budget.

The Governor also vetoed HB 1652 which would have required a delay in the collection of impact fees. The bill would have obligated cities and counties to adopt deferral systems for the collection of impact fees from applicants until final inspection, certificate of occupancy, or equivalent certification.

During the first week of the special session, few legislators in the know are sharing much regarding progress on the budget and policy issues under consideration. All indications are that very little will happen until after the Memorial Day weekend. Even then, some pundits presume final agreement on a budget won’t occur until after release of the next state revenue forecast on June 18 – several days after the clock runs out on this 30-day special session.

While we can’t do much to help them reach agreement, you can help by making sure your legislators know what’s important to you. Please emphasize the importance of:

  1. Not reducing state shared revenues with cities,
  2. Restoring shared liquor revenues and growth in profits shared,
  3. Not imposing new or expanded unfunded mandates and
  4. Protecting critical infrastructure programs such as the Public Works Trust Fund.
Many cities also strongly support a transportation revenue package and it’s important to share that message as well. We’ve developed a toolkit of materials that can help those wanting to support such a package.

Thanks for your continuing interest and patience as we await the conclusion of this prolonged session. It is quite possible that we’ll be facing a second special session, since the budget must be approved prior to the start of the biennium on July 1. We will keep you posted on progress throughout the process and issue a final Legislative Bulletin that recaps the entire session, once it is concluded.