March 5, 2015
 LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
 2015 Edition 4

What's Going On in Olympia?
The Legislative Committee's Top 10 Bills for Week 7

At last we have arrived at Week 7 of the legislature and sped past the bill cut-off date. Today we present to you the LC’s Top 10 Bills from the rumblings in Olympia. Are you ready for the lightning round? Here we go!

1. Marijuana

The House omnibus bill, HB 1461, remains in its committee of origin and the Senate marijuana revenue bill, SB 5417, is currently in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.  The Senate passed SB 5052, which attempts to harmonize the medical and recreational marijuana systems two weeks ago, and it is scheduled for a House Health Care Committee hearing on March 5th, 2015.

2. Compulsory- Buildable Lands

SB 5604 - Applies the buildable lands program (BLP) requirements to every local jurisdiction planning under the Growth Management Act.   In any action brought under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act to ensure compliance with the BLP, the prevailing party may be entitled to reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.   The bill sits in the Senate Rules Committee


Beacon Hill, Seattle 

3. Tiny Houses

1123 - Exempts cities under 125,000 from regulating minimum room and floor area requirements for single-family residential buildings, unless necessary for fire, life safety, or environmental purposes.   The bill is awaiting a “House” floor vote (no pun intended). 

4. Schools 

1420 - Creates a legislative task force on school siting.  Requires the task force to review the issue of siting schools outside of the urban growth area.   When introduced, the bill would have allowed the Bethel School District to build a school outside of the Pierce County urban growth area.  It was subsequently amended to a task force.   The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee. 

5. Annexations 

1576 - Modifies the current annexation sales and use tax credit that may be implemented by the City of Seattle, in anticipation of future annexations, some say White Center.   This tool has been used by several cities to finance the costs associated with annexation.  Seattle is the last eligible city.   The bill would allow the money to be front-loaded.  This and the Senate version, 5864, are in their respective Rules Committees.

6. Septic vs. Sewer

2010 – Creates an appeal process for requests from owners of single-family residences to repair or replace a failing on-site septic system that were denied because of a requirement mandating connection to a public sewer system.  This bill encapsulates an agreement of various stakeholders addressing the issue raised in HB 1102 and SB 5055.   HB 2010 and its Senate version, SB 5871, are in their respective Rules Committees. 

7. Shoreline Exemptions 

1850 – Exempts certain WSDOT projects and activities that occur within the footprint of existing state highway facilities from having to obtain a substantial development permit, a conditional use permit, a variance, a letter of exemption, or other review conducted by a local government under the Shoreline Management Act.


                                                         Yakima County, WA 

8.  Vesting 

5921 - Provides that no statutory codification of the vested rights doctrine limits the common laws interpretation and application of the vested rights doctrine.   The House version, HB 1394, failed to pass out of House Judiciary Committee.   SB 5921 is in the Senate Rules Committee.

9. Eminent Domain

SB 5363 seems to have achieved limited traction in 2015. However, it’s worth noting the bill prohibits the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes. Those tracking bills in Olympia have commented that it's been before the legislature for the last 5 to 6 (+/-) years.

10. The Transportation Package

Last week, the Senate Committee held its hearings on the ten bills tied to the Senate Transportation funding package (SB 5987 – SB 5997). This week the bills were voted out of the committees and onto the floor calendar. The Senate held floor action on February 27th, 2015. Speculation about the number of Senate votes for the revenue bill range from 23 to 30. There were amendments raising the Sound Transit funding levels to the $15 billion originally sought, but those amendments failed to receive enough votes.  The Senate Democrats challenged the transportation revenue bill on the premise that it would require new taxes, thus need a 2/3 majority vote. They asked for a ruling to clarify if that is indeed the case so the Senate was at ease until Monday of this week.


                                                    Federal Way Transit Center 

If you have any questions about the Chapter’s Legislative Committee, please contact Josh Peters or Esther Larsen the LC Co-Chairs. Have questions or ideas for this bulletin? Contact: Leila Willoughby-Oakes, LEAD Editor.

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
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