As we move into week #9 things are again a bit quieter as Legislators continue to debate bills on the House and Senate floors. The cutoff for bills to get out of their house-of-origin is Wednesday, March 13. Get my bill list here.

After this date, any bill that has not moved out of the house it originated in is considered dead. This means the coming days will see late nights for Legislators as they work to get as many bills out as possible.

After the Wednesday cutoff committee hearings resume. Bills that are still alive will be referred to committees where they will await an opportunity for public hearing and executive action. Committees will also resume work sessions.

The House Capital Budget Committee is wasting no time getting down to business and will hold a work session on fish passage barrier removal issues on Thursday, March 14 at 1:30pm. At this time presenters have not yet been named, but we expect to hear from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and local governments, including counties.

The Senate and House Transportation Committees do not have big agendas for week #9, and currently, are not hearing any bills that are of significant concern to counties.

However, the Legislature did act on several bills last week that are on our radar. For a full bill tracking list see here.

A few bills of note include:

SB 5505: Addressing the use of local stormwater charges paid by WSDOT.

SB 5505, Senator Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) specifies that WSDOT stormwater fees to local government utilities must be used for facilities and best management practice implementation focused only on state highway runoff. It also requires local government utilities to provide an expenditure plan and annual progress report before receiving DOT stormwater fees. Counties have significant concerns with this bill, particularly around the new report required, an onerous and costly mandate.

Unfortunately, this bill was voted off the Senate floor almost unanimously. It now moves to the House Transportation Committee for further action.

Now is the time to reach out to your Commissioners and ask them to weigh-in with committee members. For a list of members see here.

HB 1325: Regulating personal delivery devices

HB 1325, Rep. Shelly Kloba (D-Kirkland) would allow personal delivery devices to be deployed on city and county roads to be used for delivery of goods from retailers such as Amazon. The devices are smallish (think: kid’s hot wheel car) and are permitted to travel no more than 6 miles per hour on city and county sidewalks, crosswalks and shoulders. Early iterations of the bill preempted local government’s authority to regulate the devices and impeded our rights-of-way.

After a good deal of back and forth discussion with the sponsor of industry representatives, the bill is in a good place where counties can be neutral. It gives us full authority to regulate the use of personal delivery devices on our roads, and even ban their use. HB 1325 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

SB 5418: Concerns local government procurement and efficiency

SB 5418, Senator Dean Takko (D-Longview):

–  Allows counties of any population to create a purchasing department.

–  Allows counties and water-sewer districts to procure public works with a unit priced contract.

–  Increases the small works roster process and limited public works project cost thresholds from $300,000 to $500,000

–  Requires a municipality soliciting competitive bids for public works to disclose all bids received if requested by a bidder. Changes the date by which a bidder must protest to within two business days of when a municipality discloses all bids received or if no request is made, bid opening.

–  Requires a Capital Projects Advisory Review Board study of local government public works contracting processes by November 1, 2020.

 –  Expires all provisions in the act on March 31, 2021.

Get the full bill list here.

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Jane Wall

Jane joined WSAC as the Managing Director of the County Engineers (WSACE) in July 2018. She works on transportation and public works policy on behalf of WSAC and WSACE. Before joining WSAC and WSACE Jane spent time as a lobbyist for the Association of Washington Cities where she also worked on transportation, public works and economic development policy. Before entering the local government field, Jane worked in government relations for Western Washington University, The Evergreen State College and the Council of Presidents. Jane holds a M.A. in Public Administration and a B.A. in Political Science.
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