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

Published on Monday, April 6, 2015

How are legislators doing on AWC priorities? Follow our Priority Status Report.

With less than three weeks before the 2015 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn, AWC is starting a Priority Status Report to keep you apprised of how AWC’s priorities are, or aren’t, being addressed in both the House and Senate. We’re starting out by reporting on actions they’re taking to: 1) protect shared revenues like liquor taxes; 2) invest in critical infrastructure; and 3) clarify and help fund city needs related to legal medical and recreational marijuana.

Reporting on their status with a simple green as positive, red as negative, or yellow as too soon to tell may not fully reflect the complexity of how an issue is being addressed. In those circumstances, we’re including an “It’s Complicated” link for further discussion.

Recent budget action in the House and action pending today in the Senate, set the stage for real negotiations to begin. House Democrats approved their $38.8 billion operating budget and Senate Republicans approved their $37.8 billion budget. After hours of debate and speeches, nothing of substance changed, and both budgets have the support of the party in charge in each chamber and opposition from those in the minority.

There are good and important policy and fiscal decisions in both the House and Senate majority budgets. There are many similarities, but also some significant differences in approach, revenues, and ultimately, priorities for what’s funded. Leadership in both chambers crafted budgets that are designed to articulate their respective priorities for both public consumption and as positions from which to start the real negotiations on what ultimately will be adopted and signed by the Governor.

For cities, decisions on many of the high profile issues, like education funding, are important because quality schools and educational opportunities are a fundamental indicator of a community’s overall health and economic well-being. Also important, and admittedly not as high profile, are decisions within their operating and capital budgets that directly impact what cities do and at what cost.

In the past two weeks, we’ve alerted cities across the state to items of concern in both the House Democrats’ and Senate Republicans’ budget proposals. We appreciated many of you connecting with your legislators to express your views. Our concerns remain, and AWC can’t remedy them alone. Your voices can play a key role as legislative leaders and the Governor work to find consensus on the budgets. Check out excerpts from city emails to legislators here.

Our new countdown, visible at the top of the Legislative Bulletin email and on the Priority Status Report, is intended to remind you that time is getting short. The Priority Status Report will be kept up-to-date and available for you to keep tabs on how your Senator(s) or Representatives are doing to keep cities strong.

Kudos this week to Senator Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) who asked senators sometime around 3 am on the morning of Friday, April 3, to not sweep the Public Works Trust Fund and a portion of local liquor revenue. Check out his remarks here. Unfortunately, his amendments were defeated.