February 11, 2015
LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
2015 Edition 3

Fifth Week in Olympia
Carbon Credits, Marijuana Bills, Long Range Funding, ST3, and Schools

The 2015 legislative session is entering its fifth week.  By February 20th, bills must be voted out of their committee of origin.   The fiscal committees have a few more days, and committee chairs are stating that they are booked up with hearings. Any bills introduced this week will have a hard time making the February 20th cut-off.  

Here are some bills of notable interest: 

HB 1314 - Implementing a carbon pollution market program to reduce GHG emissions …

Besides creating a GHG emissions program, the bill would limit statewide emissions to levels established for 2020, 2035,and 2050 by requiring facilities, fuel suppliers and electricity importers whose emissions exceed 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent to obtain emissions allowances beginning July 1, 2016.   This bill had a hearing last week and is scheduled for a committee vote on February 10th.   The Senate companion bill has not been given a hearing. 

Marijuana bills:   There are numerous bills addressing both recreational and medical marijuana.  SB 5130 restricts where marijuana producers and processors can be located.   SB 5417 predominately sets forth how marijuana revenues will be shared with local governments, and HB 1461 covers both the zoning, in Part 13 of the bill, and the distribution of marijuana tax revenues.   These three seem to be the bills that will move forward in some form.  They had public hearings last week and are scheduled to be voted out of committee this week. 

School siting.   There are numerous bills that cover the siting of schools outside the urban growth area.   However, only one bill had a public hearing: HB 1420.   This bill was drafted to apply only to the Bethel School District in Pierce County, but numerous stakeholders had issues with the issue of siting a school outside the UGA.   On February 2nd, the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association sent a letter detailing its concerns to the Chair of the House Local Government Committee, Representative Takko.   Presently, the bill is not scheduled for a committee vote. The Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition has also forwarded an opposition letter.  

Buildable lands.   SB 5604 would expand the buildable lands report requirement to all jurisdictions planning under the Growth Management Act.   This bill had a contentious hearing in Senate Government Operations and Security Committee last week.   Currently, the bill contains a provision that any action brought under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act to ensure compliance with the buildable lands program, the prevailing party may be entitled to reasonable costs and attorneys fees.  This bill is likely to be amended – reducing its scope, but there still remains concern about the costs for jurisdictions to complete these reports.

                           

Photo courtesy of L. Willoughby-Oakes
 

Infrastructure funding.   The Senate is still negotiating among its members regarding a transportation funding package.   The House is waiting for the Senate to pass a funding package before starting the larger negotiation.   There are other bills relating to transportation local options which are receiving hearings in the House and once passed out of the House Transportation Committee are being referred to the House Finance Committee.  HB 1180, which would fund the next phase of Sound Transit (ST3) construction passed from the House Transportation Committee last week, but will be heard in House Finance next week.   A local Planning and Urbanism blog provides us with the details on the next phase of Sound Transit in the House.   This referral to the House Finance Committee is a departure from past sessions.   It is believed that House Leadership intends to leave these bills in House Finance pending a larger deal on the state operating budget.

 

If you have any questions about the Chapter’s Legislative Committee, contact Josh Peters or Esther Larsen (LC Co-Chairs). Do you have questions or ideas for this bulletin? Contact: Leila Willoughby-Oakes, LEAD Editor.

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
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