Last week marked the halfway point for this short 60-day session and the fiscal committee cutoff. Here’s a recap of which bills are moving forward this week. This Wednesday, February 19, is the last day to consider bills in their house of origin. You can check out the complete 2020 session cutoff calendar here.
What happened last week:
Transportation for All. Both HB 2688 and SB 6398 did not move out of committee before last week’s deadline. We will continue to pursue a budget proviso strategy that would potentially authorize a pilot evaluation so legislators could get a sense of how this approach could be valuable in future funding discussions. While the legislation didn’t pass in its full form, Transportation for All has succeeded in starting a public conversation around the State’s transportation funding process. Last week, The Stranger published a piece highlighting the bill and the concept of induced demand, the fact that building new road capacity doesn’t alleviate congestion, but encourages more people to drive. We are excited to see the Transportation for All conversation continue.
Sound Transit. SB 6606, which would change the vehicle valuation methodology that Sound Transit uses to calculate current Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes, moved to the Senate Rules Committee last week, but will need a two-thirds vote to pass out of the Senate because it reinstates portions of I-976. We will continue to fight any policy solution that cuts Sound Transit projects without a plan for backfilling the funds to keep projects on track.
Block the box. The Senate Transportation Committee moved SB 5789 to the Senate Rules Committee. HB 1793 has passed the House and we are now working on a hearing for the House bill in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Safety Stop bill. SB 6208, which allows bicyclists to yield at stop signs, passed the Senate floor with bipartisan support 44-1. Our partners at WA Bikes are leading this bill, and are working on passing the bill through the House.
Parking cashout program. HB 2748, which would mandate that employers in the state that provide a parking subsidy must provide a cash benefit that is equal to the value of any parking benefits, has moved out of the House Committee on Labor and Workplace Standards has been pulled from the Rules Committee and floor action is possible. This is an innovative bill that can help incentivize mode shift and we are looking forward to it advancing!
Local transportation revenue. SB 6652, which expands local transportation revenue options, such as increasing sales tax authority of local Transportation Benefit Districts, allowing cities to levy a gas tax for use on public transportation and high-capacity transit, and allowing for an additional tax on utilities that must be used exclusively for transportation purposes, did not pass before cutoff.
What’s happening this week:
This Wednesday is the last day to pass bills out of their house of origin so they may proceed to the opposite chamber for consideration. We will see many bills up for a vote on the House and Senate floor on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Transportation budget. The House and Senate are set to release their transportation budgets early next week.