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Dispatch from Olympia: Cutoff Time
Each year, TCC works in Olympia to advance, our vision of affordable, walkable, bike-friendly communities connected by frequent and reliable transit. This session, we are working on a few bills that will increase safety for all road users and expand transit in areas that need it.
A bit of background on the legislative process: February 17 was the cutoff date to pass bills out of policy committees. However, fiscal committees (like the Transportation Committee) have until the end of this week to pass bills out of committee. After these cutoff dates, most bills that did not move into the Rules Committee are considered “dead,” and will not continue through the legislative process.
For those keeping track of our legislative agenda – (download it here), here’s an overview of the current status of our priority bills.
HB 1371, which revises WA State’s distracted driving rules, would make streets safer for all users – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – by updating the definition of distracted driving to include holding a mobile device while operating a vehicle. It has passed out of the House Transportation Committee and is currently in the House Rules Committee. On Wednesday, its companion bill in the Senate, SB 5289, was sent to the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 1795, a bill to make streets safer for bicyclists by establishing a bicycle safety advisory council, has advanced into the House Rules Committee. The council would review bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries, and make recommendations for improving bicyclist safety. Its companion bill, SB 5402, is in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 1410, which provides the Thurston County transit agency authority to ask voters to approve a local sales tax increase, advanced out of the House Transportation committee this week and into the House Rules Committee. The companion bill SB 5288 is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Thurston County's population is expected to increase by 20,000 people over the next 20 years, and the additional authority is crucial for Intercity Transit to meet this growing demand.
We will keep working with our partners as these bills make their way through the legislative process and will keep you updated with the status and any actions you can take to make these important bills become law.