Legislative Update – Final for Regular Session

The Legislature adjourned late last week without reaching an agreement on a transportation package as well as the state operating budget.  House and Senate transportation negotiators will start meeting this week ahead of the special session starting on Wednesday.  No word, as yet, on any progress being made.  Both the “current law” 2013-15 budget and the “new law” transportation package are yet to be resolved.

The legislature reached agreement on oil transportation safety bill and passed ESHB 1449 on Friday just before adjourning.  The compromise removed requirements for additional train crew requirements for trains over 50 cars, requires railroads to regularly notify state emergency responders as to the route and type of oil for rail transport, and requires railroads to demonstrate ability to pay for oil spills.  The bill also increases the rail transport fee from one and one-half percent to two and one-half percent, except for third class railroads.  The bill also adds requirements for development of local emergency response plans.

Several bills have been referred to the Governor:  HB 1817 extends liability immunity to local jurisdictions for wheeled all-terrain vehicles; SHB 1851 streamlines permitting for structurally deficient bridge projects; EHB 1868 allows county road funding in San Juan and Island counties to be spend on marine related activities; SB 5307 raises funding for deficit reimbursement on county ferries in Whatcom, Skagit, and Pierce counties; SB 5314 eliminates WSDOT’s requirement for stormwater fee reimbursements; and SSB 5348 allows local agencies to establish joint utilization contracts for A&E services.

A list of bills being tracked can be found here.

Please contact Gary Rowe if you would like more information about any bills.

Legislative Update – Week 14

House and Senate Transportation Committees are in negotiations to develop a compromise transportation package.  Both the Senate and House versions raise similar amounts of revenue over the 16 years of their respective packages, but with several differences that will need to be worked out.  Key among them is the Senate assumes an exemption from state sales tax on projects and the House includes none.  The Senate also assumes revenue from the environmental stewardship legacy account (ELSA) to pay for state stormwater projects which the Hosue left out.

House Chair Judy Clibborn set the spending plan with significant funding unallocated to specific projects leaving room for negotiation for support for the package.  Her plan also books $1.2 billion in savings from WSDOT practical design application to future projects.

With time running out on the session, hopes remain high that the House and Senate negotiators can work out a compromise.

A few bills of interest made it past the final bill cutoff last Wednesday.  HB 1817 extends liability immunity to local jurisdictions for wheeled all-terrain vehicles; SHB 1851 streamlines permitting for structurally deficient bridge projects; EHB 1868 allows county road funding in San Juan and Island counties to be spend on marine related activities; SB 5307 raises funding for deficit reimbursement on county ferries in Whatcom, Skagit, and Pierce counties; SB 5314 eliminates WSDOT’s requirement for stormwater fee reimbursements; and SSB 5348 allows local agencies to establish joint utilization contracts for A&E services.

A list of bills being tracked can be found here.

Please contact Gary Rowe if you would like more information about any bills.

Legislative Update – Week 13

House Transportation Committee Chairwoman Judy Clibborn is expected to release her transportation revenue package on Tuesday, April 14th.  The House Transportation Committee will exec proposed substitutes for ESSB 5987 and ESSB 5988 bills at a meeting scheduled at 6:00 PM.

The House passed the 2013-15 current law transportation budget, ESHB 1299, off the floor with a 78-19 vote.  The budget bill was amended on the floor by Representative Fey to reappropriate $10 million previously provided in the 2013-15 budget for county arterial preservation. The Senate Transportation Committee did not pass their 2013-15 current law transportation bill, SB 6073, at their April 7th meeting because the chair did not have enough of his caucus at the meeting.

The House Transportation Committee passed several Senate transportation reform bills ESSB 5992, ESSB 5994, ESB 5995, ESSB 5996, and ESSB 5997 out of committee to the House Rules Committee.  ESSB 5994 was amended earlier by the House Environment Committee and received further amendments by the House Transportation Committee.  The effect of both committee amendments was to limit the ability of WSDOT to comply with local permitting in comparison to the Senate version.  More details can be found in the bill report.

The Senate and House will now need to negotiate both the current law 2013-15 budget and the proposed new transportation package with two weeks left in the legislative session.

Several bills still await passage with only three days prior to the April 15th cutoff for bills to be passed from the opposite chamber (not including budget related bills).

A list of bills being tracked can be found here.

Please contact Gary Rowe if you would like more information about any bills.

Washington State Association of County Engineers