The good news is that legislature worked out issues on exempt wells last week and subsequently passed the 2017-19 capital budget.  The capital budget includes – for the first time – funding for the Fish Barrier Removal Board. A list of all projects can be found here. Fish barrier projects can be found by selecting the Rec. and Conservation Funding Board and searching for Fish Passage Barrier Removal Board list of projects. If you have specific questions on capital budget items please contact me.

HB 2337, regarding construction in state waters, was heard last week but has not yet been passed out of committee. A substitute bill has been submitted by the bill sponsor, Rep. Fitzgibbon, that eliminates the civil penalty authority, but retains the stop work authority in the original bill.

The two off-road vehicle-related bills, HB 2723 and HB 2756, are scheduled for hearing on Jan. 25th in the House Transportation Committee. HB 2596, governing the use of narrow track vehicles (NTVs), was heard last week.  An NTV is a vehicle is a fully enclosed vehicle with 3 or 4 wheels, less than 40 inches wide.  A subclass of NTVs are shorter vehicles less than 102 inches in length.  The bill effectively treats NTVs as motorcycles. Here is an example of a NTV for reference.

Several bills of interest were introduced last week:

HB 2749 (Orcutt) allows rural counties to impose an additional .05% sales tax for rural broadband infrastructure. The new tax is on top of the .9% rural economic development sales tax already authorized. The tax is credited against the state sales tax with no overall increase in the sales tax amount.  The bill will likely face resistance due to its fiscal impact. The bill is scheduled to be heard on 1/23 at 10 am.

SB 6529 (Saldana), protecting agricultural workers and community members from pesticides, is scheduled to be heard on 1/25 at 1:30 pm.  The bill is similar to SB 6322 which has not been scheduled for a hearing. The bill establishes new notification requirements for “pesticide users.” A pesticide user is defined as a person who applies pesticide by aerial spraying, air-blast sprayer, or by fumigation. These are agricultural applications, not typically used in roadside maintenance. The bill does, though, establish more reporting requirements by adding reporting on a monthly basis to the department of health, which would include applications of pesticide for roadside maintenance.

HB 2726 (Buys), concerning public-private partnerships (P3) for alternative public works contracting, establishes processes and criteria for the use of P3 procurement. Washington state law only provides for the use of P3 procurement in a limited capacity to WSDOT. A summary of the bill can be found here. The bill is scheduled for hearing on 1/23 at 3:30 pm.