Thursday, February 3rd marked the first cutoff of session where all bills had to move out of the policy committee in the chamber in which they were originally introduced – called the house of origin – or they are now considered dead. The exception for this is bills that are deemed ‘necessary to implement the budget’ (NTIB). There are also some dead bills that end up getting turned into a proviso that would be included in the budget.
The next cutoff date – house of origin fiscal cutoff – is coming up very quickly on Monday, February 7th. By this date all bills referred to fiscal committees (Appropriations, Finance and Capital Budget Committees in the House and Ways & Means in the Senate, and both Transportation Committees) must pass out of that committee or they will be considered dead. Because of the short turnaround between these two cutoffs, the House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means Committees both convened for marathon of hearings all day on Saturday February 5th. The House Appropriations Committee also held executive session to move some bills out of committee on Saturday. Both committees will hold long meetings on Monday where they will be focused on moving bills out of committee by end of day.
It is important to note that not all bills get referred to a fiscal committee. In general, the threshold is whether a bill has a fiscal note that has a state general fund impact of over $50,000. There are, of course, exceptions. If a bill skips fiscal committee, it goes straight to the Rules committee where it will sit until pulled to the floor for debate and vote.
Once we get past Monday’s fiscal cutoff, the focus quickly shifts to floor action. Starting Tuesday, both chambers will convene for floor sessions where they will debate, potentially amend, and vote on bills that are pulled from rules. This will continue until house of origin floor cutoff on February 15th at 5pm. There may be some committees that meet during this time, but not nearly as many as recent weeks.
There are anticipated to be double the number of Senators on the floor this week. On Friday, February 4th, the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee voted unanimously to double the number of senators allowed on the floor, citing signs that the recent surge of COVID cases is easing. Numbers will move the maximum of 15 (eight Democrats and seven Republicans) to 30 (16 Democrats and 14 Republicans). There has been no announcement from the House about changes to their operating guidelines, which currently allows two lawmakers from each caucus and the presiding officer on the House floor, with the rest voting remotely. All members who plan to be on the floor must show proof of vaccination, including a booster.
In addition to all of the flurry around committee cutoffs, this past week was also very intense on budget efforts. Normally a short session is focused on small budget tweaks, adjusting for changes in caseloads, and addressing emergent and urgent issues. This supplemental budget will be very different given the increase in projected revenue available for the legislature to work with. Based on the November quarterly revenue forecast, there is an increase in projected revenue of $3.6 billion for the current 2021-23 biennium and $4.1 billion for the upcoming 2023-25 biennium. This increase in projected revenue means a lot of requests are coming in from advocates, legislators, and agencies for new or increased funding for programs and services. The Senate deadline for turning in budget requests was last Wednesday and the House was last Thursday. This meant the budget deadlines were hitting at the same time as policy cutoff. It was a very busy week for staff, legislators, and lobbyists.
Next steps regarding the budget are that the economic revenue & forecast council releases the quarterly revenue forecast on February 16th. After that comes out, the House and Senate will knit up their budget proposals based on those numbers. We anticipate likely seeing the respective budget proposals the week of February 21st sometime, but we don’t know that for sure until they actually come out. The legislature will then spend the remainder of session negotiating a final budget.
Click here to watch this week’s TVW Week in Review, which provides a good wrap-up of the past week in Olympia.
Electeds & Elections
Rep. Mike Sells (D-Everett) announced that he will not seek reelection in November. Sells has served as a State Representative for the 38th legislative district for over 17 years and has served as chair for the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee for over 10 years. The open seat will be filled in the November election.
Climate Change and the Environment
Rep Lekanoff introduced HB 1753 on behalf of the Governor, and it was amended by the House Environment & Energy committee. The bill requires state agencies that administer funds from certain accounts created by the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) to offer consultation to federally recognized tribes whose tribal resources may be affected by the award of funds from the accounts. It requires applicants for funding from certain CCA accounts to engage in a preapplication process with al federally recognized tribes within the project area. Additionally, agencies are not allowed to release funding from certain CCA accounts or making permitting decisions that advance the proposed project during the pendency of the preapplication process, except where required by law. The bill was heard on February 4th and was passed out of committee on February 5th in the House Appropriations committee.
Sen Nguyen and Rep Hackney sponsored SB 5722/HB 1774 on behalf of the Governor and it requires the Department of Commerce to adopt state energy management benchmarking requirements for specified tier 2 covered buildings by December 1, 2023 and rules for performance standards by December 31, 2030. It also requires Commerce to evaluate benchmarking data to determine energy use and greenhouse gas emissions averages for building type by July 1, 2029. SB 5722 was amended and passed by the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee on February 2nd. The bill was substantially changed and a summary of the changes can be found here. It was heard in the Senate Ways & Means committee on February 4th. HB 1774 has been referred to the House Environment & Energy Committee and was not passed before policy cutoff and is considered dead.
Rep Ramel and Sen Liias introduced HB 1767/SB 5666 on behalf of the Governor, and it authorizes the governing body of municipal electric utilities and public utility districts (PUD) to adopt a targeted electrification plan that establishes a finding that utility outreach and investment in the electrification of customers’ end use equipment in residential and commercial buildings will provide net benefits to the utility or PUD. It authorizes municipal electric utilities and PUDs, upon the adoption of a targeted electrification plan, to offer incentives and establish other programs to accelerate the targeted electrification of homes and buildings for their customers. HB 1767 has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration. SB 5666 was heard on January 19th in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee, but was not passed before policy cutoff and is considered dead.
Rep Duerr and Sen Liias sponsored HB 1770/SB 5669 on behalf of the Governor. HB 1770 was amended by the House Local Government committee and it updates the minimum State Energy Code requirements for residential and nonresidential construction. It requires new buildings to be net-zero ready and the State Building Code Council to adopt statewide residential reach code and requires the Department of Commerce to develop a proposal covering the technical provisions. Additionally, it preempts local residential codes with the Washington State Energy Code and the Statewide Residential Reach Code. The bill has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration. SB 5669 was referred to the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee and was not passed before policy cutoff and is considered dead.
Housing & Homelessness
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
Rep Gregerson sponsored HB 1337, which originally incentivized the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The bill was introduced in the 2021 session but did not pass so has been reintroduced. A proposed substitute bill was heard in the House Local Government committee on January 12th, and it requires cities and counties to adopt 14 specified requirements related to ADUs within urban growth areas, except to the extent that doing so would violate any existing laws or regulations related to public or environmental health, safety, or welfare. It also exempts action taken by cities and counties in complying with the provisions of the bill from challenges under the GMA and SEPA. The bill was scheduled for executive session on January 21st, but no action was taken and was not passed before policy cutoff and is now considered dead.
Rep Shemake and Sen Liias introduced HB 1660/SB 5648, which deals with ADU regulations. HB 1660 was amended by the House Local Government committee to require the housing element of a comp plan to allow for the construction of ADUs within an urban growth area and requires the removal of barriers to such construction, including certain identified regulations. It removes exemptions in current law that would allow cities to require off-street parking for ADUs within a quarter mile of a major transit center under certain circumstances and sets a deadline of July 1, 2023 for the removal of such provisions. Additionally, it prohibits homeowners’ associations, common interest communities, and restrict covenants from actively or effectively prohibiting ADUs within an urban growth area. The bill has been referred to House Rules for further consideration. SB 5648 was heard on January 25th in the Senate Housing & Local Government committee but was not passed before policy cutoff and is now considered dead.
Rep Pollet sponsored HB 1711 and it allows cities and counties to offer incentives for the development of ADUs, including the waiver of fees, deferral of taxes, or waiver of regulations, if the ADUs are subject to binding commitments that they will not regularly be offered for short term rental and there is a program to audit compliance with the commitments. The bill has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Rep Walen introduced HB 1841, which allows for the construction of an ADU to be exempt from the property tax for the duration of time the ADU is rented to a low-income household. It was amended and passed by the House Finance committee on February 3rd. The amended bill changes the income qualifying level for a low-income household from 80% of median household income to 60% of median household income. It has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Sen Gildon introduced SB 5758 and it directs the Housing Finance Commission to create a condo conversion tenant-to-homeowner program to assist tenants in multifamily buildings purchase a condo in buildings that are being converted to condo ownership. Income eligibility and other requirements for the condo conversion tenant-to-homeowner program must be based on the commission’s existing authority and similar to other homebuyer programs. The bill was amended to add a representative of a condo association or common interest community association to the affordable housing advisory board and requires the review conducted by the affordable housing advisory board on condo conversions to include specific condo association concerns, fee collection, and foreclosure fairness. The bill has been placed on second reading and awaits further action.
Rep Morgan introduced HB 1987, relating to establishing a task force on creating a new state housing and homelessness department. The bill establishes a task force to recommend an organizational structure for a new department focused solely on issues of housing and homelessness. The task force will create a blueprint for a new department to better align housing and homelessness programs that currently span across multiple agencies and partners. This bill was heard on January 25th in the House Housing, Human Services & Veterans committee, but was not passed before policy cutoff and is now considered dead.
Rep Chopp sponsored HB 1866 and it established the Apple Health and Homes Program (Program) to provide a 12 month, renewable supportive housing benefit to Medical Assistance enrollees who meet eligibility criteria related to medical risk factors and barriers to finding stable housing. It establishes the Office of Health and Homes within the Department of Commerce to acquire sufficient supportive housing units to fulfill the needs of persons enrolled in the Program. Additionally, it creates the Health and Homes Account with a portion of funds from the $100 housing surcharge for recorded documents to be used for supportive housing and appropriates $500 million from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund for the acquisition and development of supportive housing units. The bill was amended and passed by the House Health Care & Wellness committee on February 2nd. It was substantially changed and a summary of the changes can be found here. It was heard on February 5th in the House Appropriations committee and is scheduled for executive session on Feb 7th.
Sen Kuderer introduced SB 5662 on behalf of the Governor, which creates the Office of Intergovernmental Coordination on Public Right-of-Ways Homeless Encampments (Office) within the Department of Social and Health Services. It also requires the Department of Commerce to collaborate with the Office to develop and implement a statewide effort to reduce the number of persons encamped on public rights-of-way through transitions to permanent housing solutions. The bill was amended and passed by the Senate Housing & Local Government committee on February 2nd. It was substantially changed and a summary of the changes can be found here. The bill was heard on February 5th in the Senate Ways & Means committee and is scheduled for executive session on Feb 7th.
Landlord Tenant Relations
Sen Kuderer introduced SB 5576 and it updates the 14-day pay or vacate notice and eviction summons to improve readability. It clarifies that for rental arrears accrued through 6 months following the end of the Governor’s state of emergency proclamation, a 14-day pay or vacate notice may not be issued until expiration of 14 days after a repayment plan is offered and the tenant fails to accept the offer. Additionally, it requires courts to accommodate virtual representation by legal counsel appointed for indigent tenants, as well as virtual participation for tenants. The bill has been referred to the Rules committee for further consideration
Sen Trudeau sponsored SB 5749, which allows tenants to pay for rent with a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. It requires landlords to allow tenants to submit rent payments by mail or at an accessible, on-site location, and expands the application of the bill to manufactured housing landlords and tenants. The bill passed the Senate on February 2nd with a 47-0 vote count and now heads to the House for further consideration.
Rep Peterson introduced HB 1904 and it limits a landlord from increasing the rent to no more than 3% above the base rent without providing a written notice between 180 and 220 days before the increase takes effect. The bill was amended and passed by the Housing, Human Services & Veterans committee on February 1st. It was amended to require landlords to provide at least 180 days and no more than 220 days’ notice for rent increases over a certain amount. Allows a tenant to terminate a tenancy for any rent increase over a certain amount and limits late fees to $75. The bill has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Comp plan updates
Rep Duerr sponsored HB 1241 and it was amended in the House Local Government committee to increase the review and revision cycle for comprehensive plans under the GMA from 8 to 10 years. It also extends the deadline for the next comprehensive plan update for King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, and for cities within those counties, from June 30, 2024, to December 31, 2024. Additionally, it requires cities to submit an implementation progress report with certain information to the Department of Commerce 5 years after reviewing and revising comp plan. The bill was passed by the House Appropriations committee on February 1st. It has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Rep Duerr introduced HB 1978 and it increased the review and revision cycle for Shoreline master plans from 8 to 10 years so it aligns with the new revisions to the comp plan updates under the GMA. The bill has already passed the House. It has been referred to the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee for further consideration.
Rep Pollet introduced HB 1717 was amended by the House Local Government committee and at it requires counties, cities, and other local governments to enter into negotiations on a memorandum of agreement for collaboration and coordination with the tribe for participation in the planning process under the GMA, and provides for mediation if an agreement is not reached. It requires the Department of Commerce to provide notice to tribe of a city or county’s proposed adoption of a comp plan upon request of a tribe, and to facilitate a dispute resolution process to attempt to resolve a tribe’s concerns with a city or county’s comp plan or development regulations. Additionally, it requires a tribe that has a reservation or ceded lands within a county to be invited to participate in the countywide planning process. The bill was passed by the House Appropriations committee on February 1st. It has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Rep Duerr sponsored HB 1099, which adds a goal of climate change mitigation to the listed goals of the GMA. It also adds a climate change and resiliency element to the list of elements that must be included within the comprehensive plans certain counties and cities must adopt under the GMA. Additionally, Commerce is required to publish guidelines that specify a set of actions counties and cities have available to take related to greenhouse gas emissions reductions and vehicle miles traveled. The bill was introduced during the 2021 session but did not pass so was reintroduced. The bill was passed by the House with a 57-41 vote count on January 21st. It was heard February 1st in the Senate Housing & Local Government committee.
Missing Middle Housing
Sen Das and Rep Bateman sponsored SB 5670/HB 1782 on behalf of the Governor and was amended by the Senate Housing & Local Government committee. It requires a fully planning city with a population of 20,000 or more to authorize the development of all middle housing types on all lots zoned for single-family residential use within ½ mile of a major transit stop and duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes on all other lots zoned for single-family residential use. The bill provides an alternative for fully planning cities to implement new middle housing zoning policy and related requirements through alteration of local zoning to allow for certain average minimum density equivalents. Additionally, it requires the Department of Commerce to provide technical assistance and publish model missing housing ordinances to assist cities to implement the new middle housing zoning policy and related requirements. SB 5670 has been referred to the Senate Ways & Means committee for further consideration.
HB 1782 was amended and passed by the House Local Government committee on February 1st. The bill requires cities planning under the GMA to authorize middle housing types or average minimum densities based on the population of the city. It requires the Department of Commerce to provide technical assistance to cities that authorize middle housing types or average minimum densities to complete an evaluation on the costs to revise comprehensive plans. Additionally, it requires the land use element of the comp plan to include a build environment subelement. It adds additional requirements to the housing element of the comp plan related to increased economic and racial integration, anti-displacement measures, and middle housing. It was heard on February 5th in the House Appropriations committee and is scheduled for executive session on Feb 7th.
Rep Pollet introduced HB 1981 and it requires the Department of Commerce to undertake a study to determine the costs to cities and counties to revise their comprehensive plans and ensure compliance with the Growth Management Act; to distribute funds from the Local Government Support Account to ensure jurisdictions receive adequate funding for comprehensive plan updates; to provide planners and specialists to jurisdictions in developing comprehensive plans, along with model ordinances for plan implementation; and appropriates $25,000,000 for the Department of Commerce to provide grants to Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties, and the cities within those counties, for the costs of planning and meeting new requirements imposed under the Growth Management Act in the 2021-2022 Legislative Session. It also expands the requirements of the housing element of the comprehensive plan to address displacement, increased economic integration, and affordable housing near transit. Authorizes increase in property tax levy of up to three percent based on population and inflation, with the difference between the increase and a one percent increase required to be used for planning under the Growth Management Act. Additionally, it authorizes additional graduated state real estate excise tax to fund the Local Government Planning Support Account, with funds primarily be used by the Department of Commerce to provide grants to local governments for required comprehensive plan updates, and secondarily by the Department of Commerce to provide staff support and other assistance to local governments in planning. The bill was amended and passed by the House Local Government committee on February 1st. It was amended to remove all substantive provision except the requirement that the Department of Commerce undertake an evaluation to determine the costs to cities to revise comp plans and regulations to ensure compliance with the GMA. The bill has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Rep Lekanoff introduced HB 1117, which adds the goal of salmon recovery to the listed goals of the GMA. It was amended and passed by the House on January 26th. The bill was introduced in the 2021 session but did not pass so has been reintroduced. It requires the land use element of comp plans adopted under the GMA to include a strategy that achieves net ecological gain of salmon habitat. Additionally, it requires capital facilities element and transportation element of comp plans adopted under the GMA to include a schedule for the elimination of all identified fish passage barriers. The bill also requires development regulations that protect critical areas to apply certain mitigation requirements. It has been referred to the Senate Housing & Local Government committee for further consideration.
Urban Growth Areas (UGAs)
Rep Goehner sponsored HB 1627 and was amended by the House Local Government committee to allow for the extension of publicly provided water, storm water, and sanitary sewer services outside of a city and urban growth areas to meet the needs of people outside of the city. The expansion will not foster unplanned urban development, and the city makes findings that the extension is feasible, cost effective, and environmentally beneficial. It allows for development in limited areas of more intensive rural development to include access to domestic water, storm, and sanitary sewer systems to meet the needs of the community when such systems are feasible and affordable. The bill exempts the extension of permanent water service outside of a city’s boundaries from a finding of noncompliance by the GMA Hearing board or review by a boundary review board if the extension is approved after complying with the procedure for extension. It has been referred to the House Rules committee for further consideration.
Sen Short introduced SB 5593 and was amended by the House Local Government committee to amend the current standards for jurisdictions to revise a designated urban growth area or areas to include revisions based on patterns of development. It provides that any revision to the existing boundaries of a jurisdiction’s UGA or areas may not result in an expansion of total surface area of the UGA if the revision is to accommodate patterns of development and anticipated urban growth. The bill has been placed on 2nd Reading by the Senate Rules committee and awaits further consideration by the Senate.
Sen Rolfes introduced SB 5585 on behalf of the Department of Ecology and it removes the existing cap on the fee charged for water quality permits administered by the Department of Ecology and creates an advisory committee to provide recommendations to Ecology for setting the water quality permit fee rate and schedule. The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules committee for further consideration.
Paid Family & Medical Leave
Senator Robinson introduced SB 5649, modifies the Washington state paid family and medical leave. The bill as amended by the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs committee provides that an allowable purpose for family leave is any leave taken by an employee during the seven calendar days following the death of the family member for whom the employee would have qualified to take medical leave for the birth of their child or would have qualified for family bonding leave. It specifies that leave taken by certain employees in the first six weeks after giving birth must be medical leave, unless the employee chooses to use family leave. It expires the collective bargaining exception contained in the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program. It establishes an actuarial office within the Employment Security Department (ESD), which must report annually on the financial condition of the PFML program and requires ESD to report on specified fiscal areas of the PFML program. It requires ESD to publish a list of employers with approved voluntary plans on its website. It has been referred to the Senate Ways & Means committee for further consideration. It requires the Office of Financial Management to coordinate with another agency for actuarial services relative to the PFML program and report to the Legislature by October 1, 2022. And it creates a legislative task force on PFML program premiums. It was heard on February 4th in the Senate Ways & Means committee and is scheduled for executive session on Feb 7th.
Unemployment insurance, family leave, and medical leave payments
Sen Keiser and Rep Berg introduced SB 5873/HB 2031, which lowers employees premiums for the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program to last year’s level. It would also lower unemployment insurance (UI) premiums for all employers and in 2023 it would target additional relief to small businesses. SB 5873 was amended and passed by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on January 31st. The amended bill changes the title and removes all provision related to paid family and medical leave. It has been placed on 2nd Reading by the Senate Rules committee and awaits further consideration by the Senate. HB 2031 was referred to the House Labor & Workplace Standards committee but was not scheduled for a hearing. It did not pass out of committee before the policy cutoff and is now considered dead.
Conversations on a transportation revenue proposal seem to be going well and it is anticipated bills and summary of the revenue proposal will be released on Tuesday, February 8th. A hearing on the revenue proposal is scheduled in the Senate for Thursday, February 10th. We know it will not include a gas tax increase, nor will there be an accompanying bond bill, so a usual 60% super- majority vote that bond bills require will not be needed.
Monday will be solely focused on passing bills out of fiscal committees before the house of origin fiscal cutoff that day. Then focus will then quickly shift to floor action for the rest of the week.
- February 7th - House of Origin Fiscal Cutoff
- February 15th - House of Origin Floor Cutoff
- February 24th - Opposite House Policy Cutoff
- February 28th - Opposite House Fiscal Cutoff
- March 4th - Opposite House Floor Cutoff
- March 10th - Sine Die
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Events Report
Finance (House) - Virtual - 2/7 @ 8:00am
- HB 2061 - Exec Session - Adding permanently affordable housing to the definition of public
Appropriations (House) - Virtual - 2/7 @ 10:00am
- HB 1782 - Exec Session - Creating additional middle housing near transit and in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached
Ways & Means (Senate) - Virtual - 2/7 @ 10:00am
- SSB 5649 - Exec Session - Modifying the Washington state paid family and medical leave
- SSB 5662 - Exec Session - Concerning intergovernmental coordination to address transitioning persons encamped on state public rights-of-way to permanent housing solutions.
- SB 5713 - Exec Session - Providing a property tax exemption for limited equity cooperative
- SB 5832 - Exec Session - Expanding the multifamily tax exemption program to include converting existing multifamily units.
- SSB 5842 - Exec Session - Concerning state laws that address climate
- SSB 5867 - Exec Session - Concerning compassionate and effective strategies to address the homelessness crisis.
- SB 5964 - Exec Session - Concerning consolidated local permit review
Transportation (Senate) - Virtual - 2/7 @ 12:30pm
- SB 5528 - Exec Session - Concerning the imposition of additive revenue sources within a regional transit authority area.
- SB 5828 - Exec Session - Implementing recommendations of the autonomous vehicle work
- SB 5853 - Exec Session - Establishing a limited project regarding leasing certain department of transportation property in order to remedy past impacts to historically marginalized