Our .09% rural sales tax credit extension bill, a major WSAC priority, continues to move forward. HB 1267 has passed out of the House unanimously, out of the Senate policy committee unanimously, and will be heard in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on the 21st. In the meantime, we continue to work with the state auditor to come up with consistent and clear reporting standards that make it easy for both local and state officials to track and report projects.

Both main tort liability bills we have opposed this year are dead. We largely opposed these bills because of the impacts on our risk management options. SB 5059 is the prejudgment interest tort liability bill we have opposed because of its hit to our risk pools and ability to get insurance. We also opposed HB 1025, a police misconduct bill that would allow counties, as employers, to be sued for police misconduct. Our main objection to this bill is our inability to take preventative measures or otherwise remedy bad behavior, because counties generally do not directly oversee law enforcement. Thus, we get the tort liability with little ability to fix problems. Recent tragic events nationally in Nashville and locally in Sunnyside illustrate the need for both accountability and remediation with policies, and we want to work on solutions that prevent tragedies, not result in court action afterward. Both bills are dead for the Session.

There are numerous bills each Session that we monitor and ask for technical changes on so that their provisions are workable, irrespective of the policy. This year that includes changes to the Voting Rights Act proposed in HB 1048, which is expected to be enacted this year. We support access to voting and the general policy aims of this bill, but we have had some concerns. While we would still like some changes to matters such as fee calculation, the sponsors and stakeholders have addressed many of our concerns, and the bill is much better for us operationally.

Policy Contact:
Mike Hoover
WSAC, Policy Consultant