This week marks over one-third of the 105-day session. Monday, February 22 was the last day to pass bills out of a fiscal committee, Senate Ways & Means, House Appropriations and transportation committees in which the bill originated. The Senate and House now have 15 days to pass and send bills over to the other chamber before the 5pm cutoff on March 9th.
Highlights from last week
Transportation package. The House Transportation Committee held a work session on its transportation package proposal last Thursday. You can watch the video here. TCC and partners advised the panel on Clean and Just investments to prioritize, and helped set the framework for the work session by speaking about transportation equity. Check out our tweet recap of the committee work session (here and here). Next step – hearing in the transportation committees once bills based on the proposals are drafted and introduced.
On the Senate side, Senator King released a Republican transportation package proposal with a handful of red flag issues, such as a $0.20-per-ride transit surcharge, tolls on buses, and a 2% increase on the sale of bicycle parts. The spending side skews heavily toward status quo highway projects, making this proposal a non-starter. With issues like an increase in transit fees, with no added transit service, this proposal is a complete non-starter.
In addition to tracking package work, we testified in support of SB 5444 which would implement a two-cent-per-mile Road Usage Charge (RUC) on electric and hybrid vehicles. We spoke to the need to ensure a RUC addresses low-income users, through a progressive tier rate for example, and to include an equity assessment in the implementation plan.
We were thrilled to see HB1301, which would give Sound Transit the authority to create their own internal fare enforcement system, pass unanimously out of the House Transportation Committee on Friday afternoon. The bill is now in Rules Committee and we’ll be pushing for a floor vote by the full House. Take our action alert and tell your legislators to support equitable fare enforcement!
All bills must now go to the House and Senate Floor to keep them moving forward. Committees won’t meet again until after cutoff on March 9.
We’ll be working to support several bills to get a vote on the floor, including HB 1301 (allowing fare enforcement separate from the court system); SB 5141, The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (Action here!); SB 5226, ending debt-based driver’s license suspensions for moving violations (Take action here) and other bills we are tracking.