The 2017 Legislative Session begins in January of 2017. The Washington Fire Chiefs Legislative Committee has polled our members to establish our “Top 5 Goals” for the 2016 session, which were presented for adoption at our conference in Spokanethe end of May. In addition, you will see bills we are following for 2017 begin to be added to the bill tracker as the session starts. The following has been established as our 2017 direction (the 2018 Top 5 Legislative Priorities will be set at the WFC Conference on May 25th):

    • Sustainable Fire/EMS funding (examples)
      ~Raise the E.M.S. levy cap to $.75/$1000 of A.V. 
      ~Change fire levy funding to mirror port authorities which are outside the $10 constitutional limit 
      ~Simple majority for RFA benefit service charge renewal 
      ~Restructure the 1% Lid Limit
      ~Tax exempt facilities required to enter contract for fire protection

    • RFA structural equity with fire districts

    • Statewide CBRNE response planning & funding

    • Capital improvements for Fire Training Academy

    • Support recommendations from volunteer recruitment & retention incentives committee (examples)     
      ~Volunteer FF’s opt into employer medical insurance pool       
      ~Employer tax credit for volunteer FF response during working hours


    Posted: Nov 16, 2015
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    • Interim Update/Session Preview

      • The Legislature will be convening in Olympia for Committee Assembly Days on November 19 & 20.  Pre-session hearings and work group presentations on interim activities will be made, and session previews from agencies will take place.  This is a grand time to meet with legislators to discuss the upcoming session and any legislative action items we may have, as well as to gather signatures for bills to be prefiled for 2016.

      • The 2016 Legislative Session will begin January 11 and is scheduled to run for 60 consecutive days.  Most legislators (and lobbyists) are hoping to end on-time, with the focus turning quickly to the 2016 elections.  Plenty of work will need to be done before that can happen, though, with the need for a Supplemental Operating Budget appearing likely as the Legislature will look to tackle not just the education funding issue, but also the massive costs associated with the year’s wildfire season.  Similarly, a Supplemental Capital Budget is also on the table, though some legislators are already indicating that a supplemental may not be necessary.
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    Posted: Jul 9, 2015
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    Legislative Session Update

    The Third Special Session of the 2015 Legislature began Sunday, June 28 after a tentative deal on the Operating Budget was reached early morning Saturday, June 27.  Both the House and Senate passed the Operating Budget on Monday, June 29, and the Governor signed it into law shortly thereafter, thus avoiding a partial government shutdown.  But while the Operating Budget has been passed, as well as the Capital Budget and new gas tax increase for the Transportation Revenue Package, there is still work to be done, as disagreements linger regarding the potential suspension of I-1351 regarding reductions in class sizes for grades 4-12, as well as on the bonding components of the Capital and Transportation budgets.  It is expected that legislators will return to Olympia sometime after the Fourth of July holiday in hopes of completing their work sooner than later.

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