January 28, 2016
LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
2016 Edition 3

Week Two Recap

The biggest updates of week two of the Legislative Session did not involve any legislation.

  • The Senate Rules Committee approved issuing subpoenas on records related to the Department of Correction's premature prisoner release error.
  • The Secretary of State certified to the Legislature CarbonWA's Initiative 732 on January 19.  The measure would cut sales and business taxes equal to a new fee on carbon pollution, which sponsors say would be a revenue-neutral approach.  The proposal would add a $25 per ton fee on fossil fuels.  The Legislature can pass it along to the November ballot as-is or may, though likely will not, provide an alternative measure for the voters' consideration.
  • Tim Eyman's Initiative 1366 was ruled unconstitutional by a King County Superior Court Judge on January 21.  The Initiative would have decreased the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent unless the Legislature referred to voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and legislative approval for fee increases.

Bills of interest with hearing scheduled in week three include:

  • HB 2757, which directs WSDOT to do a SEPA evaluation of impacts to public transportation.
  • HB 2763, which extends the deadline for the SEPA appeal exemption for comprehensive plan and development regulations that allow for projects consistent with an optional GMA element that apply to a subarea of a city. The bill also requires that development under this section set aside a minimum of 20% of the units for low-income housing as defined by the jurisdiction. 
  • SB 6420, which would expand the buildable lands mandate to all GMA planning jurisdictions. APA Washington signed in opposing the bill on January 28, 2016, at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Security, and a letter of opposition signed by Chapter President Paula Reeves will be included in the hearing record.

The first bill deadline, February 5, is coming soon and is the date by which substantive policy bills must be heard and passed from their committee of origin.  After that, the pace of this short session will pick up considerably.

If you have any questions about the Chapters Legislative Committee (LC), please contact Yorik Stevens-Wajda or Esther Larsen, the LC Co-Chairs. A big thanks to Michael Shaw and all the members of the Legislative Committee for contributing their time, bill summaries, and discussion this regular session.

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
[email protected]  206-682-7436  www.washington-apa.org