March 7, 2016
LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
2016 Edition 8

LEAD Alert:
Final Week of Session Has Arrived

The Legislature finished floor action on March 4th, the deadline to pass bills originating from the other chamber; however, budget negotiations continue. The remainder of the 2016 session will be used for budget negotiations and bill reconciliation - whether to concur or not concur with House amendments to Senate bills and vice versa. The session is scheduled to end March 10th. In the House, there are whispers that this Legislature could end the session without reaching a compromise on the capital and operating budgets. In the Senate, lobbyists are spreading rumors of a special session. 

Supplemental Budgets. After unveiling their proposals for the operating, capital, and transportation supplemental budgets, both chambers amended their bills and passed their budgets. The House and Senate transportation budgets are similar with a supplemental transportation budget negotiation is expected to be resolved. Both the capital and operating budget negotiations are having a tougher time. The capital budgets are different in that the House spent $17.4 million on local projects. The operating budgets are the most dissimilar.  

The House spent $414 million on policy level increases and $219 on maintenance level costs. The House partially offset these increases with $167 million in policy savings and $318 from the budget stabilization account (the rainy day fund). The House net spending increase over last year's budget is $248 million.

The Senate had $237 million in policy level increases and $168 in maintenance level costs. The Senate offset that total increase with $356 million in policy level decreases (cuts). The net spending increase for the Senate proposal is $49 million - less than the maintenance level of last year's budget.

Some of those cuts are of particular interest to APA Washington Chapter members:

  • Model Toxic Control (MTCA) programs: $15.7 million. The reductions include public participation grants, stormwater capacity grants, and grants to local government for shoreline management plan updates.
  • Municipal Research Service Center: $2.8 million. This cut of $2.8 million eliminates state funding for MRSC. Bi-partisan amendments to restore the MRSC funds were not successful. Fortunately, MRSC remains funded in the House budget, but now the battle goes to the reconciled budget that will likely be passed as early as late this week. The survival of MRSC is essential to well informed and well trained local public officials. The "State budget negotiating team" members are listed below with their contact information.

    • Andy Hill (360-786-7672; [email protected]) - Kirkland, Duvall, Woodinville, Redmond, Sammamish
    • John Braun (360-786-7638; [email protected]) - Centralia, Chehalis, Castle Rock, Kalama, Napavine, Winlock, Vader, Pe Ell
    • Jim Hargrove (360-786-1323; [email protected]) - Port Angeles, Hoquiam, Forks, Sequim, Port Townsend
    • Kevin Ranker (360-786-7678; [email protected]) - Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Friday Harbor, Anacortes, Burlington
    • Hans Dunshee (360-786-7804; [email protected]) - Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Mill Creek, Marysville, Everett
    • Dan Kristiansen (360-786-7967; [email protected]) - Arlington, Granite Falls, Gold Bar, Darrington, Sedro-Wooley, Concrete, Hamilton, Sultan, Index, Monroe
    • Christine Lytton (360-786-7800; [email protected]) - Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Friday Harbor, Anacortes, Burlington
    • Pat Sullivan (360-786-7858; [email protected]) - Covington, Auburn, Federal Way, Kent
    • J.T. Wilcox (360-786-7912; [email protected]) - Lacey, Yelm, Rainier, McKenna, Roy, Graham, Eatonville, Orting, La Grande, Elbe

School Siting is another issue of concern for APA Washington Chapter members. During this final week, there is a negotiation based in the House regarding the school siting issue (siting schools outside the urban growth area). SB 6426 is the legislative vehicle. Below is the last draft around which negotiations are taking place, and it is limited to Pierce and Franklin Counties:

Comments on National APA Draft Policy Guides

The National APA Draft Policy Guides on water planning and freight planning will be debated and voted on during the Delegate Assembly at the National Planning Conference in Phoenix on April 3, 2016. Representing the Washington Chapter are Eric Goodman, Reid Shockey, Yorik Stevens-Wajda, and Hiller West, who are reviewing comments from the Chapter membership to compile for submittal to National APA and the discussion at the Delegate Assembly. Send your comments to them by March 11, 2016.

If you have any questions about the Chapter's 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