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Courthouse Journal Blog

The Courthouse Journal is the official weekly newsletter of the Washington Association of County Officials. The Courthouse Journal Blog is a collection of publications relevant to WACO members, their staff, and others. *This blog is not updated on a schedule.

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Mar 24

Legislative Session Update (Week 11)

Posted on March 24, 2023 at 10:57 AM by Cella Hyde

Welcome to Day 75 of the 105 legislative session and we have crossed a very critical cut off. By now for a bill to continue, it must be in the opposite side of the house.

Two of our bills, the Auditors' "Harassment" bill, and the Clerks' "Dependency Notification" bill, are stuck behind a log jam in the Senate Law & Justice Committee. The committee was referred 64 bills, many of which take up some significant time for debate; and only have one and half weeks to get them out of committee.

This is why budgets are important to follow. IF either of the bills are mentioned in the House budget, which we expect on Monday, then they would be deemed "necessary to implement the budget" or NTIB. This means they would not be subject to the cut off calendar. This would give the Senate Law & Justice Committee the time needed to get it out of committee before session is over.

Speaking of budgets. Yesterday the Senate released their proposed budget SSB 5187. Here is link for the summary: 
https://fiscal.wa.gov/statebudgets/2023proposals/Documents/so/soPSSB5187Summary.pdf

The budget funds the Coroners "forensic pathology" bill SB 5523.

Additionally the bills funds several bills of interest including the SB 5128 "Jury Diversity" bill.

STATE V. BLAKE DECISION – $115.5 MILLION TOTAL FUNDS (2023-25)
Funding is provided to assist local courts, prosecutors, and defense counsel in re-sentencing individuals impacted by the Blake decision. Funding is also provided to establish a centralized refund mechanism within the Administrative Office of the Courts to refund legal financial obligations and costs associated with vacated Blake sentences when ordered by the court.
 
TRUEBLOOD – $69 MILLION NGF-O (2023-25); $80 MILLION NGF-O (2025-27)
Funding is provided for DSHS and the Health Care Authority (HCA) to continue implementation of phase 2 of the Trueblood Settlement Agreement, expand to phase 3 regions (Thurston, Mason, and Salish), and implement programmatic changes identified in the phase 3 plan to phase 1 and 2 counties. Programmatic changes identified in phase 3 include requiring a prescriber be added to existing Forensic Housing and Recovery through Peer Services (HARPS) and Forensic Projects for Assistance in Transition from  Homelessness (PATH) teams. This also includes funding to HCA for a forensic diversion program; and to DSHS for a jail-based competency evaluation pilot at the King County Correctional Facility and provision of jail-based behavioral health services to Trueblood class members in King County.
 
INVESTMENTS IN INDIGENT DEFENSE – $42.9 MILLION NGF-O (2023-25); $65.2 MILLION NGF-O (2025-27)
Funding is provided for the Office of Public Defense (OPD) state-funded appellate indigent defense for incarcerated adults and youth related to a first, timely personal restraint petition. Funding is also provided to transfer from counties to OPD the responsibility to provide representation for indigent persons acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to state psychiatric care.

Additional resources are provided to maintain and increase levels of service for representation of indigent persons in OPD and the Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA) programs. Funding is also provided to OCLA to continue the mandatory appointment of counsel for children and youth in dependency proceedings consistent with the expansion contained in RCW 13.34.212(3).

Secretary of State 
Voter registration - Funding is provided for implementation of Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5112 (Voter registration), which modifies processes related to voter registration. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 148,000

Candidate filing - Funding is provided for implementation of Substitute Senate Bill 5182 (Candidate filing), which modifies procedures and deadlines for candidate filing. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 148,000

Online voter registration - Funding is provided for implementation of Substitute Bill 5208 (Online voter registration), which updates online voter registration processes. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 148,000

Voter Outreach -  Funding is provided for communication staff related to election security and integrity, and for community engagement. Additionally, $1 million is provided for grants to county auditors. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 6.4M
Commerce 

Accessory Dwelling Units - Funding is provided for implementation of Substitute Senate Bill 5235 (Accessory dwelling units), which updates guidance for cities and counties. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) (43,000)

Local Housing Programs - Funding is provided for grants to local governments for maintaining programs and investments which are primarily funded through document recording fees. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 32 M
Department of Revenue 

ADU Rental/Property Tax - Funding is provided to implement Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5045 (ADU rental/property tax). (General Fund-State) (One-Time) (4,000)

Affordable Housing Funding - Funding is provided to implement Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5334 (Affordable housing funding). (General Fund-State) (Custom)  (282,000)

Property Tax Exemptions - Funding is provided to implement Senate Bill 5732 (Property tax exemptions). (General Fund-State) (One-Time) (4,000)

Criminal Justice Training Commission 
Basic Law Enforcement Equivalency - Funding is provided to increase the number of classes from three to five each year for the basic law enforcement equivalency course. Some new recruits with prior law enforcement backgrounds can amend the Basic Law Enforcement Equivalency Academy instead of the full Basic Law Enforcement Academy. This shorter course provides the required training more quickly for those who qualify and helps meet the increased demand for new officers throughout the state. (General Fund-State) (Ongoing) (79,000)

Basic Law Enforcement Academy - One-time funding is provided to increase the number of classes from 20 to 23 for Basic Law Enforcement Academy courses, which demand exceeds space available in the 20 classes per year funded in the Criminal Justice Training Commission's base budget. This increase will maximize the number of classes that can be supported with existing training space in Burien and the Spokane regional training academy. (General Fund-State; General Fund-Local) (One-Time) 2.5M

Officer Certification - Funding is provided for increased officer training and staff capacity to meet workload from increased investigations to include enhanced law enforcement accountability measures. (General Fund-State) (Ongoing) 770,000

Recruitment Planning - One-time funding is provided for the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) to develop a plan and recommendations to further increase CJTC training capacity to include meeting the needs of limited law enforcement and Tribal law enforcement. A preliminary report is due November 15, 2023 and a final report is due September 30, 2024. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 150,000

Regional Training Academies - Funding is provided for an additional four basic law enforcement academy classes per year at two new proposed regional training academy (RTAs) locations. There will be one new RTA in eastern Washington and one new RTA in western Washington, and the four additional classes per year will be split between the two new RTA locations. (General Fund-State; General Fund-Local) (Ongoing)  6.9M

CJTC Administrative Staffing - Funding is provided for additional administrative staffing to support operational needs at the CJTC. (General Fund-State) (Ongoing) 960,000

Vehicle Pursuit Policy - One-time funding is provided to create a model vehicle pursuit policy that is due to the Legislature by October 31, 2024. (General Fund-State) (One-Time) 165,000

What is not in the budget is increased funding for the Tox lab for testing units and technicians. After discussing the issue with WSP they are first making a Capital Budget request for increased space and capacity then asking for personnel.

Don't forget to check out the WACO Legislative Advocacy page to find resources, refreshers, and to get familiar with WACO's 2023 Legislative Priorities! 


WACO PRIORITY LEGISLATION STATUS








AUDITORS: Addressing Harassment of Elections Officials (HB 1241)
Status: Referred to Senate Law & Justice

CLERKS: Better Alignment of Duties in the Dependency Cases (HB 1205)
Status: Referred to Senate Law & Justice

CLERKS: Reinstating Overpayment Refund Threshold (SB 5392)
Status: Is scheduled for executive action today in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary committee at 10:30 am (TVW LINK)

CORONERS: Statewide Forensic Pathology Shortage (SB 5523)
Status: executive action taken today in the House Post Secondary Education & Workforce

CORONERS: Addressing the WSP Toxicology Lab Backlog
Status: Not in state operating budget, but will partially be in Capital Budget

TREASURERS: Modernizing the Process of Registered Warrants (HB 1419)
Status: Is in Senate Rules Committee