February 8, 2017
LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
2017 Edition 5

Week Five of Session 2017

Last week, Rep. Shelly Short (R-Addy) was appointed to the 7th District Senate seat vacated by Senator Dansel, who is now at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Senator Short's legislative assistant, Jacqueline Maycumber, is the new Representative from the 7th District. That puts the Senate back to a 25 to 24 split favoring the Senate Republicans. However, that changes on those days when Sen. Ericksen is in Washington DC working as Communications Director for the U.S. EPA Transition - the Senate reverts to a 24 to 24 tie when he is gone.

Bills are moving fast with the first legislative cut-off quickly approaching. On Friday, February 17th, policy bills that have not passed out of their original policy committee by the end of the day are mostly dead for the year, although there are always exceptions to this rule, including those bills that are tied to the budget. Currently, over 1,000 House bills and 800 Senate bills have been introduced. Thus, policy committees will devote a significant amount of time over the next few weeks to hearing and voting on bills.

In week five, hearings of interest to the Washington Chapter of APA include the following bills which are being reviewed by the Chapter's Legislative Committee:

  • SB 5438 - Promoting the completion of environmental impact statements within two years has a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on Wednesday, February 8th.
  • SB 5615 - Authorizing the development of new manufactured housing communities outside of urban growth areas under the GMA has a hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee on Tuesday, February 7th.
  • HB 1885 - Clarifying the roles of state and local governments in the regulation and mitigation of water resources has a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on Tuesday, February 7th.
  • HB 1918 - Addressing treatment of groundwater under state water codes to support rural development while protecting instream flows also is scheduled for hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on Tuesday, February 7th.

HB 1885 and HB 1918 are the House's attempts to address the Whatcom County vs. Hirst court decision regarding water availability and which entity determines that issue under the GMA. HB 1885 provides that counties can rely on the Department of Ecology rules regarding water supply. HB 1918 provides for a mitigation certification process issued by the county, and places on the building permitting authority the responsibility for determining whether water is available. These bills are similar to the Senate bills, SB 5239 and SB 5024, which were heard on January 24th.

HB 1017 - Addressing the siting of schools and school facilities. An amendment to this bill is being proposed by Representative Fitzgibbon (1017AMH ENVI HATF 001).

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
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