Category Archives: Legislative Update

Support House Bill 1213

AN ACT Relating to granting local governments the authority to make challenges related to growth management planning subject to direct review in superior court.

The legislature finds that local elected officials are appropriately responsible and responsive to their citizens regarding land use decisions within their communities. The legislature also finds that citizens of these local governments have suffered significant financial and other costs resulting from reviews of disputes by the growth management hearings board that are subsequently resolved in a court of law. The legislature intends to relieve this additive burden of process by allowing jurisdictions with fewer government resources the ability to seek judicial interpretations of the growth management act without the costly and time-consuming practice of an initial review by the growth management hearings board.

HB 1213…/Bills/House%20Bills/1213.pdf


Call the Legislature back to pass capital budget, fix water-rights ruling

Former Washingon Gov. Dan Evans calls on the governor and Legislature to, finally, pass a capital budget and a fix for the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has halted development in some rural areas.

By Daniel J. Evans
Special to The Times

It’s time for Gov. Jay Inslee, together with Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the Legislature, to put partisanship aside and solve two pressing problems. Washington state needs a capital budget and a fix to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has impacted homebuilding in rural areas.

As construction costs rise, every day that goes by without passage of the state’s capital budget means that taxpayers will pay more for building schools and other projects, and it means that needed construction is delayed.

Equally important is modification of the law in response to the Hirst decision. Hirst will shatter the American dream for some Washington state families because they may not be able to obtain water on the properties they purchased unless the Legislature enacts a solution to that decision.

A recent study by the Building Industry Association of Washington suggested that $6.9 billion in economic growth every year will be lost if the Hirst decision stands. Even if the assumptions in the analysis are exaggerated, and the court decision costs the state only $3 billion annually in economic activity, would that be acceptable? Of course not, especially in rural areas that are desperate for an economic boost. Continue reading

Opinion: Hirst Legislation Inaction

“Morally repugnant”? No, it’s simply what rural families need

The court’s decision has left some families stuck. They’re unable to build on property that they bought before the decision, when new homes had the green light. That’s a big hit to rural economies. The Spokesman-Review noted, “People who purchased property under the old rules now face the prospect of not being able to build on it. Plummeting property values would also impact builders, lenders and county tax collections.”

Continue reading

Inslee: Rural well issue shouldn’t distract lawmakers

A bill to reopen rural Washington to new household wells didn’t make Inslee’s list of legislative priorities for the final weeks of this year’s session. 

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee outlined his legislative priorities Thursday for the last weeks of the session, a list that doesn’t include responding to the state Supreme Court decision that has closed rural Washington to new domestic wells.

“I think it would be most helpful in many, many places to find some solution to it, but it is not as important as funding the McCleary decision,” said Inslee, referring to the court’s order to spend more on education.

Senate Republicans say they want to address this year both McLeary and the Hirst decision. The 6-3 ruling in October will require individual property owners to prove their well won’t draw water from existing uses. Dissenting justices said the decision puts a massive and likely insurmountable burden on people applying for a building permit. Continue reading

Mar 14: Best Available Science, Legislative Action House Bill 1113

Act Now! Send an email asking legislators to vote for 2013 House Bill 1113: Concerning standards for the use of science to support public policy. Tell them — It’s time for the Dept. of Ecology to base significant agency action on peer-reviewed science, not educated guesses, or pure speculation.

Introduced by Rep. Shelly Short, (R-Addy) (R) on January 16, 2013, requires the Department of Ecology, in managing its water quality and shorelands and environmental assistance programs, identify and publish to the public peer-reviewed literature, if applicable, as well as any scientific literature or other sources of information used before taking any significant agency action.

Passed 96 to 0 in the House on February 22, 2013, requires the Department of Ecology to identify the peer-reviewed science, scientific literature, and other sources of information being relied upon before taking significant agency action related to certain agency programs. Received in the Senate on February 25, 2013.

Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment & Telecommunications, Mar 14 at 1:30 PM.

Send your comments to the committee via this online comment tool. You will be asked to include your name and address. This seems reasonable, since the legislature is more interested in citizen input than spam.

Or, you can send individual emails to the following senators. They are members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment & Telecommunications.

Ericksen, Doug (R) Chair

Sheldon, Tim (D) Vice Chair

Ranker, Kevin (D) (Ranking Member)

Billig, Andy (D)

Brown, Sharon (R)

Chase, Maralyn (D)

Cleveland, Annette (D)

Honeyford, Jim (R)

Litzow, Steve (R)

Olympia wants to borrow money to stimulate the economy.

Say what?

Peer Reviewed Science Bill Dies

House Bill 1307 would have required the departments of natural resources, fish and wildlife, ecology, and agriculture “to demonstrate the use of peer reviewed science before or simultaneous with taking a significant agency action.”

It was passed out of the Environment committee on February 10 and sent to Ways & Means on Feb 15. No further action has been or will be taken. A companion bill in the Senate (SB 5644) never made it out of the Environment, Water & Energy committee, chaired by Phil Rockefeller.

Why did such sensible legislation die in committee? Because state agencies testified that it would cost $20 million to implement from 2011-2017 and the state is broke. As a result, environmental regulations will continue to be based on “best available science” which includes term papers by college students, masters theses, consultant reports and “grey literature” created by the agencies themselves.