2022 Legislative Update: Week 5

Advocacy , Olympia Update ,


Week Overview

General Update

This past week we officially passed the halfway point of the 2022 legislative session.

Monday, February 7th marked the second cutoff of session – House of Origin Fiscal Cutoff. 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 also both Transportation Committees) had to pass out of that committee or they are now considered dead. 1,005 bills passed the house of origin policy cutoff, and just 629 bills passed house of origin fiscal cutoff.

Following fiscal cutoff, focus quickly shifted to floor action. Starting Tuesday, both chambers convened for floor sessions where they debate, potentially amend, and vote on bills that are pulled from Rules. On several days, floor activity went late into the night. This will continue to be the focus until house of origin floor cutoff on Tuesday, February 15th. After the house of origin floor cutoff, bills that are still in play will go to the opposite chamber where they will be referred to committees for consideration. Bills will have just over a week to be heard and pass out of their opposite house fiscal committee by policy cutoff on February 24th.

This week, the House increased the number of their members in-person to 20, requiring that all in-person legislators be vaccinated, boosted, and masked.

As the Senate was beginning floor activity, Lt. Governor Denny Heck announced he had a breakthrough COVID-19 case. Newly appointed Senator John Lovick (D-44), having served as Speaker Pro Tem during his time in the House of Representatives, smoothly transitioned and presided over much of the Senate Floor activity. Heck returned to the Senate floor and resumed his role presiding over Senate Floor activity on February 12th.

In addition to the flurry around cutoffs, there will also be increased activity around the budget in the coming week. On Wednesday, February 16th the Economic & Revenue Forecast Council will release the quarterly revenue forecast. The forecast is important as it helps guide legislators in terms of money available, which informs how much funding they have to work with in crafting their proposed budgets. Typically, the first budget is released shortly after the revenue forecast comes out. It is anticipated the budgets will likely be released the week of February 20th. For a reminder about the budget and terminology check out A Citizen’s Guide to the Washington State Budget. The legislature will then spend the remainder of session negotiating a final budget.

On February 9th, Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference to announce declining COVID-19 declining hospitalization rates. Based on Omicron trends from around the world, the expectation is Washington State’s rates will drop rapidly. In response to the declining numbers, the requirement to pause elective surgery will be lifted on February 18th, and the mask mandate for outdoor events with 500 people or more will be lifted the same day. The masking requirements for indoor public spaces and K-12 schools remain in effect for now, though Governor Inslee has said he is continuing to evaluate and will consider lifting additional requirements in the coming days/weeks. Superintendent Reykdal released a statement the same day recommending the Department of Health and Governor to lift the statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools.

Click here to watch this week’s TVW Week in Review, which provides a good wrap-up of the past week in Olympia.

Priority Areas

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. It was amended and passed by the House on February 10th with a 94-1 vote count. The adopted striking amendment can be found here. It has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee on Feb 16th.

Sen Nguyen sponsored SB 5722 on behalf of the Governor and it was amended by the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee. It requires the Department of Commerce to adopt state energy management and benchmarking requirements for building between 20,000 and 50,000 square feet and to multifamily residential building larger than 50,000 square feet by December 1, 2023. Also requires Commerce to evaluate benchmarking data to determine energy use and greenhouse gas emissions averages by building type July 1, 2029. The bill was passed by the House Appropriations committee on February 7th and passed off the Senate floor on Feb 12th with a 27 to 22 vote count. It has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee on Feb 17th.

Rep Ramel introduced HB 1767 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. The bill has been placed on second reading and awaits further action.

Rep Duerr sponsored HB 1770 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 was amended and passed off the House floor with a 51 to 47 vote count. The adopted amendments can be found here and here The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

Housing & Homelessness

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Rep Shemake introduced HB 1660, 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 placed on second reading and awaits further action.

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. The bill was amended and passed off the House floor on Feb 12th with a 66 to 31 vote count. The adopted amendment can be found here. It will now be referred to the Senate for further consideration.

Condos

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 2nd Reading and awaits further action.

Homelessness

Rep Chopp sponsored HB 1866 and was amended by the House Health Care & Wellness committee. It establishes 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 establishes the Health and Homes Account to be used for permanent supportive housing programs administered by the Office. The bill was passed by the House Appropriations committee on February 7th and on February 10th was placed on 2nd Reading by the House Rules committee.

Encampments

Sen Kuderer introduced SB 5662 on behalf of the Governor, which creates the Office of Intergovernmental Coordination on Public Right-of-Way Homeless Encampments (office) within the Department of Social and Health Services, with the goal of reducing the number of encamped persons on certain public rights-of-way through transition to a permanent housing solution. 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 certain public rights-of-way, and to provide grants to local government or nonprofit organizations to meet the individual needs of encamped persons and facilitate their transition to permanent housing. The bill was amended and passed out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Feb 7th. The adopted amendments can be found here and here. The bill has been placed on 2nd Reading and awaits further action.

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 placed on 2nd Reading and awaits further action.

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 is scheduled for a public hearing on February 17th in the House Housing, Human Services & Veterans committee.

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 placed on 2nd Reading and awaits further action.

Land Use

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 amended and passed by the House on February 13th with a 55-43 vote count. It was amended to change the reference date for population thresholds used to determine the counites and cities required to submit implementation progress report.

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 scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee on Feb 16th.

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 passed the House on February 11th with a 92-6 vote count. It will now be referred to the Senate 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 is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Housing & Local Government committee on Feb 17th.

Missing Middle Housing

Rep Bateman sponsored HB 1782 on behalf of the Governor, which 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. The bill has passed out of the House Appropriations Committee on Feb 7th. It been placed on 2nd Reading and awaits further action.

Rep Pollet introduced HB 1981 and amended by the House Local Government committee. It requires the Department of Commerce to undertake an evaluation of the costs to cities and counties to revise their comprehensive plans and ensure compliance with the Growth Management Act, with a report on the evaluation due to the Legislature due by December 1, 2022, and updates required every five years thereafter. The bill has been placed on 2nd Reading and awaits further action.

Salmon recovery

Rep Lekanoff introduced HB 1117, which adds the goal of salmon recovery to the listed goals of the GMAThe 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. The bill has been scheduled for a hearing on February 16th in the Senate Housing & Local Government committee.

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 and awaits further action.

Prejudgment interest

Sen Kuderer introduced SB 5155 and it starts interest running on a judgment entered following trial of the matter and arbitration awards for tortious conduct, other than medical malpractice claims, from the date on which the cause of action accrues for individuals and entities, but not public agencies. It also starts interest running on a judgment for a medical malpractice claim from the date of entry of judgment. The Senate amended and passed the bill on January 19th with a 31-18 vote count. The amended bill excludes public agencies from the new prejudgment interest provisions and will only be liable for post-judgment interest only as they are now. It has been scheduled for a hearing on February 18th in the House Civil Rights & Judiciary committee.

Paid Family & Medical Leave

Senator Robinson introduced SB 5649, which modifies the Washington state paid family and medical leave. The current bill 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. The bill requires ESD to publish a list of employers with approved voluntary plans on its website. It contains provision on short- and long-term actuarial services assessing the financial condition of the PFML program to maintain financial stability of the family and medical leave insurance account. And it creates a legislative task force on PFML program premiums. The bill was amended and passed by the Senate Ways & Means committee on Feb 7th. The adopted amendments can be found here and here. The bill passed off the Senate floor on Feb 12th with a 42 to 7 vote count. It now will be referred to the House for further consideration.

Unemployment insurance

Sen Keiser introduced SB 5873 and decreased the maximum Unemployment Insurance (UI) social cost factor for 2022 and 2023. It sets a maximum UI rate class for the purposes of the percentage of the social cost factor to be paid by small businesses in 2023. It was amended and passed by the Senate on Feb 9th with a 48-1 vote count. The adopted amendment changes the title to ‘Relating to the social cost factor in unemployment insurance premiums.’ The bill has been scheduled for a hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards committee on Feb 16th.

Transportation

Transportation Revenue

On Tuesday, February 8th, the Senate and House Transportation committee chairs unveiled the Move Ahead Washington transportation revenue proposal. It is a $16.8 billion over 16-year transportation proposal that makes historic investments in public transit and multimodal options to ensure transportation options are safe, accessible, and affordable for all. It also fulfills the obligation to replace fish passage barriers, invests in the ferry system, highway maintenance and preservation, and funding projects large and small across the state. SB 5974 was heard on February 11th and is scheduled for executive session on February 14th. Full list of investment and revenue sources can be found here.

The transportation spending has about $16.8 billion in funding over a 16-year period, funded by:

  • $5.4 billion from the carbon emissions reduction account
  • $2 billion from a 6-cent tax on exported fuel,
  • $2.7 billion in various fee increases,
  • $403 million in shifting of the sales tax on transportation projects to transportation accounts,
  • $2 billion one-time operating budget contribution,
  • $3.4 billion of federal money from the new surface transportation reauthorization,
  • $60 million from staff costs offsets, and
  • $956 million from existing bonding

Looking Ahead

Monday and Tuesday are focused on getting bills passed off the floor in the house of origin by 5pm on Tuesday. Then focus will shift to policy committee hearings and executive sessions as they head toward the opposite house policy cutoff on Feb 24th. Also be on the lookout for the revenue forecast, which will be released Wednesday (2/16) morning around 9am.

Upcoming Dates:

  • 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

Transportation (Senate) - Virtual - 2/14 @ 8:00am

SB 5974 - Exec Session - Addressing transportation resources.

Environment, Energy & Technology (Senate) - Virtual - 2/16 @ 8:00am

ESHB 1753 - Public Hearing - Concerning tribal consultation regarding the use of certain funding authorized by the climate commitment act. (Remote testimony.)

Labor & Workplace Standards (House) - Virtual - 2/16 @ 10:00am

ESSB 5873 - Public Hearing - Concerning unemployment insurance. (REVISED FOR ENGROSSED: Concerning the social cost factor in unemployment insurance premiums.) (Remote testimony.)

Housing & Local Government (Senate) - Virtual - 2/16 @ 10:30am

HB 2061 - Public Hearing - Adding permanently affordable housing to the definition of public improvements. (Remote testimony.)

Finance (House) - Virtual - 2/17 @ 8:00am

HB 1990 - Exec Session - Concerning a sales and use tax deferral for projects to improve the state route number 167 and Interstate 405 corridor.

Housing & Local Government (Senate) - Virtual - 2/17 @ 8:00am

HB 2061 - Exec Session - Adding permanently affordable housing to the definition of public improvements.

SB 5971 - Public Hearing - Concerning the comprehensive plan and implementation of the goals and requirements of the growth management act. (Remote testimony.)

Ways & Means (Senate) - Virtual - 2/17 @ 4:00pm

SB 5651 - Public Hearing - Concerning the capital budget. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.) (Remote testimony.)

Environment & Energy (House) - Virtual - 2/18 @ 10:00am

E2SSB 5842 - Public Hearing - Concerning state laws that address climate change. (Remote testimony.)