What’s old is new again (or so I hope, because a lot of this may seem repetitive, but that’s the time of Session we’re in).
The wrongful death bill, SB 5163, was heard for what is expected to be the final time on April 1. This bill is expected to be passed into law, with projected additional costs to local governments of over $7 million annually.
WSAC has been successful (so far!) in limiting the reach of HB 1105, relating to homeowner foreclosure, which was amended at the last minute to remove delinquent tax penalties.
While WSAC continues to work to on the bill to help those truly needy homeowners who get into financial trouble, we have opposed a blanket removal of all penalties, which could actually reward delinquent taxpayers at the expense of those who pay taxes on time, and cost counties up to $28 million annually.
So far, all of the solutions under discussion have little to no impact on county budgets while still providing relief to those in need, and we will continue to monitor this issue as it moves forward.
In related news, WSAC participated in a work session on homelessness-related issues, primarily dealing with local infractions that can result from homelessness (such as camping in public spaces, loitering, etc.).
We pressed for workable solutions that local law enforcement and social services can both understand and implement, but there is no bill expected on this matter this year. Instead, the legislature is expected to study the matter over the interim, and WSAC expects to participate in those sessions.
The public records assistance bill, HB 1667, was heard in what should be the final committee on April 4th and should be passed out of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means shortly. This bill provides grants and assistance to local governments, particularly smaller jurisdictions, helping them to learn best practices and better serve the public in providing records.