Legislative Committee

Legislative Committee

The Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA Washington) has a strong and active Legislative Committee (LC), which has been working on behalf of the Board of Directors and the APA Washington membership since 1989 by participating in the legislative process in the State of Washington. During each session of the Washington State Legislature, the LC coordinates with other stakeholders groups, tracks legislative initiatives, reviews proposed changes to State law, provides comment and testimony during legislative committee workshops and hearings, and occasionally “runs a bill” on behalf of APA Washington. The function and purpose of the LC is important to the well being of the Chapter. The LC leadership will promote the involvement of a consistent and informed group representing the diverse interests within APA. Legislative Committee members are required to be members of the Washington Chapter of APA; are encouraged to be members of National APA; and, when representing the Legislative Committee or the Chapter at a National APA event, are required to be members of National APA.

Staying Informed

There are several ways to follow activities of the Legislative Committee (LC) during the legislative session:

  • Read updates in the monthly APA Washington newsletter
  • Sign up to receive chapter email bulletins, including LEAD — Legislative Education, Advocacy and Direction
  • Learn about bills that we are tracking and planning-related initiatives that we are pursuing
  • Provide input to the LC members about bills in the Legislature and feedback on Chapter positions.
  • Participate in updates to the Chapter’s Legislative Agenda, generally each summer between sessions.
  • Participate in our Bill Proposal Process
  • Review Welcome to the Legislative Committee and participate in the LC activities by contacting the LC Chairs (Esther Larsen and Yorik Stevens-Wajda) to sign up

2020 Legislative Session

Help Shape the Chapter’s 2020 Legislative Agenda

To guide Washington APA’s advocacy programs on state legislative policies, laws and budgets, the chapter develops and maintains an annual legislative agenda document that lists the chapter’s priorities for action in the upcoming state legislative session. The legislative agenda generally undergoes a full refresh prior to the start of each legislative biennium, which starts with a new long session (odd-numbered years), and a more limited update before each short legislative session like the upcoming one. The chapter may also occasionally take a lead role in running a bill, using its bill proposal process.

The chapter’s legislative committee takes the lead on developing the legislative agenda document with input from chapter membership and consideration of the policy direction set nationally through APA Policy Guides and APA Policy Principles – three new policy guides were adopted following the national conference in San Francisco this year, addressing Planning for EquitySurface Transportation, and Housing. The chapter board of directors then considers the legislative agenda document for approval each year, and board or chapter president approval is also sought before the legislative committee engages in particularly important or contentious advocacy efforts.

It’s very important that the chapter’s legislative advocacy efforts represent the priorities of the chapter’s membership, and the only way that’s possible is through your input. The legislative committee is asking chapter members to engage via a short (4 questions) comment form. The comment form will be open until September 27 (this is an extension), after which the legislative committee will gather the comments, develop a draft legislative agenda, and submit it to the board of directors for consideration at the board’s October meeting in Tacoma.

Share Your Input

If you’re interested in doing more to help advocate for the tools to make great communities happen, email legislative committee co-chairs Esther Larsen or Yorik Stevens-Wajda, or even better… join the legislative committee!

2019 Legislative Session

2019 LEAD Newsletters (Legislative Education, Advocacy, and Direction)

2018 Legislative Session

2018 LEAD Newsletters (Legislative, Education, Advocacy, and Direction)

2017 Legislative Session

2017 LEAD Newsletters (Legislative Education, Advocacy, and Direction)

2016 Legislative Session

2016 LEAD Newsletters (Legislative Education, Advocacy, and Direction)

Climate Initiatives Forum Webinar: March 4, 2016

2015 Legislative Session

2015 LEAD Newsletters:


During the legislative session, the LC meets via telephone conference call every Friday at noon. If you are interested in participating in the LC, please contact one of the Co-Chairs (information below).

Following the Friday conference calls, LC members volunteer to review and comment on proposed bills. The schedule for the review of bills is based upon when the bill will be heard either in the House or the Senate. The review of proposed bills is the central responsibility of committee members. Bill reviews are posted on the LC's “Basecamp” information exchange website. The reviews provide the background for development of position statements, which are communicated by the Chapter lobbyist or a designated Chapter member to the Legislature. Meeting the clear expectations as to when the bill reviews are to be complete and transmitted to the Co-Chairs is critical to the functioning of the LC.

2014 Legislative Action Items

The Legislative Committee tracked 45 bills during the 2014 Legislative Session as set forth in the LC’s bill tracking list setting forth details on those bills, the majority of which did not survive the Session.

The 2014 Supplemental Budget passed by the Legislature did not include additional money to assist jurisdictions with GMA updates despite a request from Governor Jay Inslee for nearly one million dollars in funding so the Department of Commerce could provide, among other resources, grants to local jurisdictions. The LC supported the request for the funding, and a letter of support was submitted to the Governor as well as House Appropriations Committee Chair Russ Hunter and Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Andy Hill requesting the funding.

National APA provides a quarterly legislative webinar to brief members on legislative issues, priorities and other work programs that are related primarily to federal legislation which impacts planning at all levels as well as to provide resources for local chapters in developing their own legislative agendas and to seek input from local chapters on policy guides, Aging in the Community and Hazard Mitigation, developed periodically by National APA. The most recent webinar took place on February 27, 2014.


The following links provide information on the State Legislature and for assisting in the tracking, review, and commenting on proposed bills.


The Co-Chairs of the Legislative Committee are:

Thank you for your interest in APA Washington's Legislative Committee.

Legislative Committee Archive