WSAC/WACO Joint Conference Save the Date
Scott Blonien
Legislative Hot Sheet January 30 - February 5, 2017

Over the past three legislative sessions we have been working to improve our legislative advocacy and reporting. For the 2015 and 2016 sessions we contracted with Mike Shaw to work with Monty to support our priority bills. Their individual skills and talents and knowledge together creates a perfect recipe for success in the legislature. Our successes prove it. They were very successful during the 2016 session; with four WACO priority bills reaching the Governor’s desk for signature, and two more advancing to their respective rules committees - paving the way for valuable conversations in the interim.

The recent increase in WACO’s budget allows Mike to return for the 2017 session to work with Monty, plus we’ve been able to add Brynn Brady to our cadre of legislative advocates. The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. WACO is able to provide unrivaled subject matter expertise and legislative access, acumen and experience that is the envy of many others. The considerable success we’ve realized thus far this session is the product of the additional resources we’ve added, lots of hard work and WACO’s continuing commitment to improving our legislative advocacy.
We’ve also greatly improved our flow of information to you. In 2016, Timothy Grisham worked to strengthen our legislative reporting and database. We took your input to build on and improve our reporting system for 2017. Because of WACO’s additional financial resources Timothy was able to work with the vendor to customize our legislative access system. The result is affiliate unique reports that meet the content and frequency requirements of each affiliate. Those reports are sent once or twice a week to the chairs of your legislative committees, for further distribution.
Once a week we are crafting a narrative report, which you are currently reading, that is sent to all WACO members detailing the progress of the WACO priority bills and the efforts of the WACO legislative team. If during the week there are significant legislative developments or successes you’ll receive a special email/alert detailing the event as a supplement to our weekly narrative.
This year we also have Timothy and Brynn creating white papers, talking points, and marketing materials for WACO priority bills and bills of interest.
WACO has been able to greatly enhance our service to you because of your continued financial commitment to it. We are seeing the successes of that partnership during this session (take note below); and we all thank you and we are happy to serve.

Priority Bills

The first cut-off date is February 17. This is the last day to clear policy committees in the bill's house of origin. What this means is that if the bill has not moved out of committee, with the exception of Senate Ways & Means, Transportation, or any House fiscal committee, the bill is effectively dead; unless the bill is deemed necessary to implement the budget.

The good news is that with two weeks left until the first cut-off, one version of each of our bills has cleared that threshold, so we are in a great position moving forward for the session.

Assessors: (HB 1309, SB 5188) The Assessors’ bill to remove land from the current property tax classification was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee with a Majority Do Pass recommendation.
Auditors: (HB 1161, SB 5187) the Auditors' clean-up bill was referred to the house Rules Review Committee with a Majority Do Pass recommendation.

(HB 1345) The Auditors' licensing fee bill had an executive session, and we are waiting on the official action.

Clerks: (HB 1396, SB 5327) The Clerks' modernizing and clarifying statutes relating to the County Clerk bill was withdrawn as a priority bill for 2017 by a vote of the Clerks. The Senate version of the bill was referred to the Senate Rules Committee with a Do Pass recommendation on the 1st substitute bill. The 1st substitute bill can be found here: (link).

Coroners: (HB 1794, SB 5612) The Coroners' bill concerning the death investigations account was introduced in the House January 30; and in the Senate January 31. The bill is scheduled for a hearing the the House Committee on Appropriations February 9 at 3:30 pm (link to video feed).

FSI: (HB 1764) Replacing the one percent property tax revenue limit with a limit tied to cost drivers. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House committee on Finance February 10 at 8 am (link to video feed).

Prosecutors: (HB 1355, SB 5278) The Prosecutors' Public Safety Review Board bill was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee with a Majority Do Pass recommendation.
Treasurers: (HB 1283, SB 5189) The Treasurers’ anticipated tax bill was referred to the Senate Rules Committee for second reading after receiving a Majority Do Pass recommendation.

Other Bills of Interest

The following bills of interest were discussed by the Legislative Committee, who then voted to take a position on the bills. 

Support: (HB 1209, SB 5396) This bill allows counties more options in depositories by opening up the pool to credit unions. The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee with a Majority Do Pass recommendation. The Senate version had a February 2 hearing in the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance (link to video of hearing).

Support: (HB 1595) This bill concerns the costs associated with public records, allowing governments to collect a modest fee for electronic records gathered. The bipartisan bill, prime sponsored by Rep. Nealey, came about after extensive off-session discussions involving local and state governments, as well as stakeholder groups. It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on State Government and Technology February 10 at 10 am (link to video feed).

Legislative Receptions

During session we are partnering with WSAC for four legislative receptions at the Water Street Café in Olympia. Please put these receptions on your calendars and give your local legislators a call to invite them to join us.

The remaining receptions are:

  • February 15, 6:00-8:00 PM, Water Street Café
  • March 15, 6:00-8:00 PM, Water Street Café
  • April 5, 6:00-8:00 PM, Water Street Cafe
Legislative Website

Navigating the Capitol Campus

WSAC has posted a training video providing a broad overview of how to navigate the capitol campus; it is a great video for anyone looking to learn how to navigate the information (link).

GOP School Funding Plan Would Nearly Double State Property Tax, Lower Local Levies
(Courtesy of KUOW)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax and carbon tax to comply with a court order to fully fund public schools. Republicans in the state Senate Friday instead proposed to solve the state’s school funding crisis by raising the state property tax while lowering local rates.


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