WSAC serves as a forum to build a statewide county legislative agenda. The fact that WSAC represents all 39 counties is key to building the coalitions needed to pass helpful legislation and likewise prevent harmful legislation. WSAC utilizes various tools to keep members up-to-date on legislative activities throughout the year.
The Legislative Steering Committee (LSC) is composed of one member from each of WSAC’s member counties as well as each of the four County Executives. The LSC has two co-chairs that are appointed biennially by the WSAC President. Co-chairs may not also serve as members of the WSAC Executive Committee. LSC members have frequent interaction, particularly during the state’s legislative session with legislators, agency staff, and representatives of other organizations. In addition to setting the policy direction for the association through the Legislative Agenda, LSC members are expected to attend regular meetings during legislative session and to communicate with legislators regarding WSAC’s legislative priorities.
Counties support a coordinated approach to fish passage barrier removal. Now is the time to develop a coordinated program that removes state, local, and private barriers that completely open habitat throughout watersheds.
Access to a defense attorney is a fundamental constitutional right where the responsibility has been passed down to counties. The Legislature funds less than 4% of the costs and counties spend $156 million annually. For equal access to justice, the Legislature must fund the full cost of trial court public defense services. View Data.
There is an emergent statewide need for increased non-Medicaid funding. The un-braiding of Medicaid and non-Medicaid funding as a result of the state moving to integrated managed care for behavioral health has exposed the significant shortfall in non-Medicaid funding allocated to Behavioral Health Administrative Service Organizations to fund the ever increasing Involuntary Treatment Act costs as well as all other essential behavioral health programs and services.
The Legislature has continued to shift costs through policy changes and legislation down to county government. To pay for these unfunded mandates, counties divert funds from road maintenances leaving critical public safety positions unfilled to meet the obligations from the state. Counties oppose any changes that will increase county costs without funding attached.
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