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Transportation & Public Works Legislative Update (3-10-17)

The legislature reached the cutoff where bills needed to pass out of the house of origin over to the opposite chamber for hearings.  Attention will now turn to the state budget.  The budget is expected to be out shortly after the new state revenue forecast comes out next week.

There are a couple of bills of interest that did not make it past the cutoff, but are still alive because they are considered necessary to implement the budget.

The first, HB 1677, affecting local infrastructure funding, is the bill addressing funding for projects.  It also makes changes to the board structure and types of projects that can be funded.  There is a group of stakeholders working on a compromise let by Rep. Doglio.

The second bill that is still under negotiation is SHB 1428, the HPA bill being promoted by the Department of Fish & Wildlife.  The department is continuing to negotiate with stakeholders on the bill at the request of the bill sponsor, Rep. Blake.

Another bill of concern, SB 5049, affecting relocation assistance, was heard in the House Judiciary Committee.  The bill requires any agency with eminent domain authority to offer relocation assistance.  We asked for an amendment that would ensure that any state grant used for the project would be required to reimburse the agency for those costs.

ESHB 1838, all-terrain vehicle crossing, was passed out of the House and referred to Senate Transportation.  The bill basically allows an ATV to cross a road with a speed limit up to 60 MPH in those counties that already allow ATV use on county roads 35 MPH or less.  It doesn’t allow crossing of state highways at uncontrolled intersections and county may also restrict where these crossings can be allowed.

SSB 5228, regarding hydraulic project approval, passed out of the Senate and was referred to the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.  The original bill restricted HPA jurisdiction to the ordinary high water line.  The substitute bill changes it to a study on the jurisdiction issue.  The bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

More information on bills being tracked can be found here.  Please contact me if you have any questions on any legislation.