Today is the final day for bills in the Washington State Legislature to pass out of at least one chamber in order to stay alive this short session. Any non-budget bill that hasn’t passed either the House or the Senate by 5 p.m. will almost certainly be dead for the year. And while passing one chamber is needed for a bill to stay alive, it still needs to pass the other, have the chambers work out differences if needed and then get signed by the Governor. So there’s a lot of work left to do.
Funding is, of course, the elephant in the room. The outcome of I-976 is still uncertain as legal fighting will extend beyond this session, so talks about how to fill the potential funding chasms in transportation departments across the state are in a bit of a strange place. Budget debates will really get going in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
But there are a lot of non-funding bills moving this year, and there’s a lot of good news. Yesterday evening, the Senate passed SB 5789 by a divided 25-21 vote to allow crosswalk and bus lane enforcement cameras in downtown Seattle. This is the second year Rooted In Rights has helped lead the effort to get this bill into state law.
We're so happy #DontBlockTheBox passed the Senate last night! Thanks to the co-sponsors @MarkoLiias @senjoenguyen @SenSaldana & Sen. Claire Wilson and to everyone who voted to make our streets and intersections more accessible! pic.twitter.com/D5xOCAMdtr
— Rooted in Rights (@RootedInRights) February 19, 2020
Here’s a look at the so-far-successful status of Washington Bikes’ other priorities:
- As we reported earlier today, the House voted 96-1 recently to create a Scenic Bikeways program in Washington.
- The Senate passed SB 6208 by a 44-1 vote, which would allow the Safety Stop (AKA Idaho Stop) in Washington, joining Oregon’s lead last year.
- The House passed HB 2461 by a more divided 57-41 vote, adding health a state transportation goal (how is that controversial?).
- The Senate unanimously passed SB 6493, which Washington Bikes described as a “technical fix” concerning the existing Cooper Jones Active Transportation Safety Council.
- UPDATE (correcting a previous version that had the wrong bill number and current status): The House unanimously passed HB 2197 this week, which would allow equipment like a bike rack to temporarily obscure a license plate.
Transportation Choices Coalition has had more of a mixed bag this session so far. While they are really focused on the funding debates ahead, they are also tracking a handful of bills.
One interesting bill that could get a vote today is HB 2748, which would require employers with 50 or more employees that also offer employee parking subsidies to offer employees a parking cash out option if they don’t use the parking. That’s a great idea. UPDATE: This bill did not get a vote before the 5 p.m. cutoff.
A couple housing bills are also among the bills hoping to get a vote today. From a Sightline email:
SUPPORT Accessory dwelling units – a pro-renter, pro-sustainability measure for adding modest, affordable home choices in Washington state neighborhoods near transit, jobs, and schools.
SSB 6617, Accessory Dwelling Units (allows low-impact density to expand housing options)
SUPPORT: Middle housing options like duplexes and triplexes – keep prices down and curb pollution and commutes with more modest, affordable housing choices in Washington neighborhoods.
SSB 6536, Single Family Zoning (re-legalizes triplexes and duplexes within urban growth areas, increasing middle housing choices)
Submit your comment here: SSB 6536 – UPDATE: Did not get a vote
Are there any other bills you are supporting today? Let us know in the comments below.