WSAC/WACO Joint Conference Save the Date
Scott Blonien
Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Today, March 10, is day 61 of the 2017 legislative session. 
Most of the WACO priority bills continue to work their way through the chamber opposite from which they were first introduced. There is hope that those that are stalled will be part of the details of finalizing the biennial budget. 
The next cut-off date is March 29, which is the last day to move bills out of the policy committees in the opposite side of the house in which the bill was introduced. April 4 is the cut-off date for bills to move from the House Fiscal and Transportation committees, and from the Senate Ways and Means and Transportation committees.
All are nervously anticipating the introduction of the Senate budget. All indications point to it being introduced the first part of the week of March 20. It continues to be described as disastrous and catastrophic for local government. We have been advised that every aspect of state/local government revenue sharing is in play and at risk.  
The good news is that we are guardedly optimistic that the Fiscal Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is still in consideration and may be part of the mad rush of the last days of session. 
Stay Tuned…  -Scott

Priority Bills

Assessors: (HB 1309) The Assessors’ bill to remove land from the current property tax classification bill did not make the house of origin cut-off.
Auditors: (HB 1161, SB 5187) the Auditors' cleanup bill. The Senate Bill cleared the Senate and is now in the House with a March 16 hearing in the House Local Government Committee at 1:30 pm. The House bill did not make the house of origin cut-off.

Clerks: (SB 5327) The Clerks' cleanup bill passed the Senate and will be introduced in the House.

Coroners: (HB 1794) The Coroners' bill concerning the death investigations account cleared the house and was introduced in the Senate with a referral to the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

Treasurers: (HB 1283SB 5189) The Treasurers’ anticipated tax bill. The House version has already passed the House and had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Local Government March 9 at 1:30 (link to video). The Senate bill cleared the Senate and is scheduled for a House Finance Committee hearing March 17 at 8 am.

Our Progress Thus far

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) This bill allows counties more options in depositories by opening up the pool to credit unions. The House version of this bill has passed the the House and is introduced in the Senate.

Support: (HB 1594) This bill concerns training and consultation regarding public disclosure. The bill cleared the House and has been introduced in the Senate with a hearing scheduled in the the Senate Committee on State Government March 15 at 8 am.

Support: (HB 1595) This bill concerns the costs associated with public records, allowing governments to collect a modest fee for electronic records gathered. The bill cleared the House and has been introduced in the Senate with a hearing scheduled in the the Senate Committee on State Government March 15 at 8 am.

Legislative Reception
WACO and WSAC staff and members mingle with legislators and staff during the February 15 legislative reception at Water Street Cafe.

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:

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

Homelessness Property Tax: Unintended Consequences
(Courtesy of the Seattle Times)

Mayor Ed Murray’s plan for another tax increase to solve Seattle’s affordable-housing and homeless issues will have some unintended consequences.


Local Districts Lobbying for Elimination of 1 Percent Property Tax Cap
(Courtesy of the Kitsap Sun)

OLYMPIA — Local officials are throwing their support behind a bipartisan measure that would replace the state’s 1 percent cap on property tax growth, which they say has hampered governments’ ability to provide services.


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