APA WA Legislative Committee - 68th State Legislative Session Summary

Paula Reeves, AICP, CTP, APA WA Legislative Committee Chair, Robin Proebsting, WAC Update Subcommittee Chair, and Joe Tovar, FAICP, Roadmap to Washingtons Future Subcommittee Chair

The 68th State Legislative Session has come to a close and we wanted to provide a few highlights and next steps. You may have weighed in on APA Washington Legislative Priorities in our annual member survey conducted last summer. We have held tightly to these priorities and reviewed a record 25 bills providing testimony, support, and comment letters on over a dozen of them. This session your APA WA Legislative Committee has had record participation and issued three LEAD Articles to members. A special thanks to Esther Larsen, J.D., for her work on these informative updates. If you did not get the LEAD articles sent to your inbox, you can read them and request them on the Legislative Committee webpage.

Our Chapter Lobbyist, Mike Shaw, reviewed hundreds of bills and attended numerous work sessions, hearings, and other committee meetings on our behalf throughout the session. We did see many of our ideas and priority issues emerge in numerous bills and budgets. While we did not see HB 1099, Climate Planning, or SB 5626 Water Plans and Climate, pass this session, we remain hopeful that direction for climate change planning will be a priority for the long session next year. HB 1717, Tribal Coordination has passed, and sustainable funding for essential local planning and tribal coordination is included in the final budget. Coordination and resources to address more affordable housing and homelessness needs have been significantly expanded, and equity and environmental justice are central in all these policies. 

An important change to the APA WA Legislative Committee this session that increased our capacity was the creation of two subcommittees, one dealing with WAC revisions led by Robin Proebsting and one focused on providing APA’s feedback to the Roadmap to Washington’s Future process led by APA’s representative on the Roadmap Task Force, Joe Tovar. 

The WAC subcommittee, led by Robin, reviewed revisions and relayed its comments via participation in the technical advisory group convened by the Department of Commerce, which included planning representatives from across the state. Issues reviewed by the group included: Guidance around the de-designation of resource lands; coordination between water goals and urban growth; and the use of consistent population projections and planning horizons in comprehensive plans. Commerce staff are now in the process of reviewing and integrating comments on the preliminary draft; this process will result in revised rules, scheduled to come out in April 2022. A public hearing is scheduled for April, followed by final adoption planned for June 2022.

Joe participated in the three meetings of the Roadmap Task Force held before the 2022 legislative session.  He shared the APA Legislative Committee’s input with the Task Force, including support for $10M in state funding annually to support local planning, revising the update cycle for comprehensive plans and development regulations from eight years to ten years (with a five-year check-in), and reinstituting a sales tax incentive for annexations.  Although the sales tax incentive idea did not result in legislation this session, the revised update cycle in HB 1241 has passed. State funding for planning was in the final budget. 

There will be ten more meetings of the Road Map Task Force in 2022 leading to recommendations late this year for legislation in the 2023 session.  The work program will include a discussion of bills that did not pass this session, such as middle housing. 

If you are interested in participating in these important ongoing discussions, please send an email to: [email protected]

Thank you to all the members of the APA WA Legislative Committee for all your hard work this session! 

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