Week in Review: Hearings, Hearings and More Hearings

This past week has been a busy one, with WSAC staff testifying at no fewer than a dozen hearings. With the House reporting passing 350 bills over to the Senate, and only 20 days allotted to policy committee hearings, next week should prove to be a busy one, as well.

On Monday, WSAC testified in support of HB 1913, the compromise bill on occupational disease presumptions. We also opposed HB 2144 and SB 5983 because a transfer of LEOFF 2 funds into the Benefits Improvement Account will undermine the solvency, certainty, and predictability of the LEOFF 2 funds and rates.

On Tuesday, staff once again testified against SB 5163, the wrongful injury and death bill. We also testified against SSB 5380, a bill that requires county jails to use medically assisted treatment without providing funding for that purpose. And, we weighed in with supportive comments on the bill to integrate behavioral health, E2SSB 5432.

We also raised our voice in support of the bill to impose the veterans’ assistance levy separate from the county’s regular purpose tax levy, HB 1829. We opposed 2SHB 1579, regarding chinook abundance and hydraulic project approvals.

On Wednesday, WSAC publicly supported SHB 1406, which provides a credit against the state’s portion of the sales tax to incentive investments in affordable and supportive housing.

We sounded the alarm on SB 5505, a bill that would preempt counties from charging WSDOT County Stormwater Utility Fee and limit the ability to raise the needed revenue to pay for critical stormwater treatment. As well as against SSB 5883, which is a bill concerning the weight load of farm vehicles.

It is an unnecessary and potentially costly vehicle weight increase allowance that will put critical county infrastructure at risk. In the same hearing, we were supportive of SSB 5695 concerning high occupancy vehicle lane penalties.

On Thursday, we worked to correct the expensive amendment that had been placed on E2SHB 1105, testifying against the amendment in committee and for a proposed substitute bill that would remove the offending amendment.

As such, the bill no longer eliminates the property tax delinquency penalties, but we will need to remain vigilant as the bill continues through the process.

And, on Friday, we continued to support ESHB 1667, our bill to address public records reporting.

With the House, and possibly Senate, versions of the operating, capital, and transportation budgets coming out next week, it promises to be just as busy if not more so.

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Mellani McAleenan

Mellani joined WSAC as the Director of Government Relations and General Counsel. Mellani has worked in government relations since 2000, most recently as Director of Government Affairs for the Dental Association. Mellani has also represented the state judicial branch of government as the primary legislative advocate for the Board for Judicial Administration, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Supreme Court. Mellani earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Seattle University and her BS in Human Services from Wayland Baptist University.
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