The Senate and House passed bills out of their house of origin prior to cutoff on March 9. Now, legislators are back in committee to take up legislation that passed out of the opposite chamber. Now that we are over halfway done with session, our attention turns to getting priority bills over the line, biennial budgets, and possible new transportation spending bills. Session has been anything but ordinary due to everyone working remotely, but that hasn’t stopped important legislation from moving.

Latest highlights:

Take Action for a Clean and Just transportation package. With legislators back to committee work, anticipation is building for transportation package bills to drop. Now is an opportune time to show grassroots support for a Clean and Just transportation package that prioritizes health, equity, and climate investments. Write to your legislators today.

In addition, transit supporters can ensure their elected officials support Clean and Just transportation investments by participating in town hall events. Our coalition has created a Town Hall Tracker Map and Town Hall Toolkit to make it as easy as possible to participate. Do you live in the 27th Legislative District? Join Climate Solutions’ virtual town hall to support Clean and Just transportation work here.

A bill to end debt-based drivers license suspensions passed the Senate. SB 5226 would reform driver’s license suspension policies that disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and people of color and is a way to rectify racial discrimination in the legal system. Check out this blog post from our partners at the Budget and Policy Center to learn more. 

The Quarterly Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) payments bill died in Rules Committee. SB 5448 would have allowed drivers to set up a payment plan for their car tab fees. Though the bill is no longer moving, we are working to ensure that this policy gets brought back next year and interim work is done with DOL and other stakeholders on implementation..

Coming up: 

The next revenue forecast will be released on Wednesday, March 17. We anticipate that transportation revenues will still be down due to COVID impacts, and will see how legislators grapple with this when they release their budgets soon after the revenue forecast. There is potential for additional delays as the legislature works to incorporate the federal stimulus bill and how that will support ongoing state budgets.

The fare enforcement bill hearing is on Tuesday, March 16. HB 1301, which would give Sound Transit the authority to create their own internal fare enforcement system, is up for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee tomorrow, March 16, at 4 pm. TCC will be testifying along with partners, and are encouraging allies to take action by submitting written testimony or signing in pro

A bill adding climate change mitigation to the Growth Management Act (GMA) has a hearing on Tuesday. HB 1099, which would, among other updates, amend vehicle miles traveled targets to the listed goals of the GMA, has a hearing this Tuesday, March 16 at 8 am in the Senate Housing and Local Government Committee. Take this action to urge your Senator to be a climate champion and vote yes on HB 1099. Thanks to our partners at Futurewise for taking the lead on this bill.

The Road Usage Charge (RUC) bill is scheduled for executive session on Tuesday, March 16. SB 5444 would implement a two-cent-per-mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles — the first iteration of a statewide Road Usage Charge (RUC), requiring the development of an implementation plan by Dec. 1, 2022. We still have concerns about allocating the funding to the Motor Vehicle Account, as well as how to implement this policy equitably for low-income users, and testified to these points. 

A bill updating the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program has passed the House. HB 1514, which would allow greater flexibility for vanpools, and require the CTR board to provide additional updates to the program, has a hearing Monday, March 15 at 4 p.m. 

We’ll be keeping our Bill Tracker updated weekly as these bills move. 

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