Home  |   About us  |   Partner with AWC  |   Login      


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

Published on Friday, January 30, 2015

Legislators asked to support strong cities and they seem to be listening – just not acting yet!

When discussing AWC’s fiscal sustainability-focused 2015 Action Agenda, legislators’ reactions seem to have evolved from a year ago when many, even sympathetic ones, responded with, “You can’t be serious when we can’t even sufficiently fund the state’s needs.” More often now, legislators acknowledge that sustaining the state’s economic and social vitality relies much on how cities and counties are doing on the home front.

AWC and cities are asking the state to strengthen and update the state/local government partnerships that keep our communities strong now and into the future. Minds and doors are open to hear what cities need, thanks in large part to what hundreds of city officials across the state are doing to communicate your needs directly to your representatives in Olympia.

  • For the first time in recent memory, legislators from both political parties and chambers have formed local government champion’s caucuses. Their aim is to find common ground, bills, and revenues to support strong cities and counties.
  • They know that across the state, good jobs, great schools, economic opportunity, and a great quality of life, all depend on cities with healthy and safe main streets, thriving neighborhoods and business centers.
  • Several priority bills highlighted in this week’s Bulletin demonstrate a willingness to consider support for critical public safety needs by sharing a portion of new marijuana tax revenue and local option revenue tools to help address city street maintenance and mobility needs.
  • Other priority bills are either still in the works or haven’t yet been scheduled for hearing on issues such as restoring growth in shared liquor revenue, and demonstrating a commitment to help fund critical city infrastructure. We expect to see them on agendas soon.

This is all very encouraging. As legislators settle in to start the 4th week of deliberations during their 15-week session, it’s also time for them to start acting and demonstrating a “can do” approach.

  • For the next three weeks, committees in both chambers will sift through their piles of bills. AWC expends a considerable amount of time and energy sharing concerns about many of these – several of which are noted in this week’s Bulletin. You too can let your legislators know your opinions on these!
  • By Friday, February 20, at 5 pm, anything to do with policy must clear either a House or Senate committee or the bill – good or bad – is considered “dead.” Not coincidentally, AWC’s 2015 City Action Days gathering is scheduled for February 18-19. This is a well-timed opportunity for hundreds of city officials from across the state to connect with their legislators and show solidarity on what cities need. Whether from Olympia or home, staying in touch with your legislators remains critical!
  • Bills with fiscal impacts have another week to move; although if determined as “necessary to implement the state’s budget,” their lifespan can be extended. Several of AWC’s priorities rely, in one way or another, on what’s in or out of the state’s general fund, capital, or transportation budgets.

Your AWC leadership and staff remain optimistic that even with the huge challenges facing the Governor and legislators, there appears to be a renewed interest in considering ways to support and strengthen their local government partners. Now is the time for cities to tell legislators what we need.