WSAC/WACO Joint Conference Save the Date
Scott Blonien

Today, March 17 is day 68 of the session.

 “Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”
? Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
The WACO priority bills continue to move through the chambers. The Coroners’ bill has traction, and we’ve been told that it’ll be included in the budget. Due to the backlash from the Sound Transit levy vote, we thought that the Auditors’ fee bill was dead. But there is a faint glimmer of hope that a very limited amount of revenue sharing could flow to the counties when the budget is written. WACO and the Clerks are looking into amending the cleanup bill to remove a controversial provision that has it stalled in committee.
We’ve repeatedly mentioned that we expect the Senate budget will be revealed next week, the week of March 20. We’ve been told that the budget is going to be disastrous to local government. We all are nervously waiting; and waiting is the worse part.
There is a sliver of good news; the recent revenue forecast (revenue forecast PDF) projects that general fund state will increase to $3.842 billion, which is an increase of over $186 million over previous projections. But it’s not enough to have a significant impact on the over-all budget picture.  

Priority Bills

Auditors: (SB 5187) the Auditors' cleanup bill had a March 16 hearing in the House Local Government Committee at 1:30 pm (link to hearing video).

Clerks: (SB 5327) The Clerks' cleanup bill is scheduled for a March 21 hearing in the House Committee on Judiciary at 10 am (link to livestream of future hearing).

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 moved to Senate Rules Committee with a "do pass" recommendation. The Senate bill cleared the Senate and had a House Finance Committee hearing March 17 at 8 am (link to hearing video).

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 had a hearing in the the Senate Committee on State Government March 15 at 8 am (link to hearing video).

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 had a hearing in the the Senate Committee on State Government March 15 at 8 am (link to hearing video).

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 is:

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

Bills to Increase School Funding Don't Go Far Enough
(Courtesy of the The Kitsap Sun)

Thanks to the Kitsap Sun article on the education funding forum held last Sunday, although it would have been nice if the reporter had mentioned it was hosted by the Bainbridge Island Republican Women.

Senators Christine Rolfes (D) and Ann Rivers (R) did a great job of presenting the Republican and Democrat plans for education funding as laid out in SB5607 and HB1843 — both of which will increase funding by $7 billion over 4 years, mostly for teacher and staff salaries. Keep in mind that education funding increased from $13.5 billion in 2011-13 to $18 billion in 2015-17 and will go up to around $21 billion in 2017-19. While SB5607 has a very specific $1.8/$1000 statewide property tax plan, the Democrats are open to the “endless possibilities” for raising taxes.


State Lawmakers Have Yet to Agree on How to Fund Public Education
(Courtesy of the Q13)

SEATTLE — With less than two months left before the Legislature is set to adjourn, state lawmakers are still far apart on an agreement to fund public education.
Lawmakers agree with the state Supreme Court that it’s the lawmakers’ responsibility to equally fund schools rather than forcing school districts to rely on local levies for their money.


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