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2020 LEGISLATURE

The 2020 Legislative Session begins in January of 2020. The Washington Fire Chiefs Legislative Committee has polled our members to establish our “Top 5 Goals” for the 2019 session, which were assembled by the Legislative Committee based on membership feedback. In addition, you will see bills we are following for 2019 begin to be added to the bill tracker as the session starts. The following has been established as our 2019 direction:

Stable funding & revenue for fire service agencies

  • In conjunction with other fire service partners, WFC is exploring various options such as eliminating the Constitutional super-majority requirement for M&O levies, moving fire districts outside the $10 Constitutional property tax limit (mirroring port districts), restructuring the 1% property tax cap, raising the EMS levy cap from $0.50 to $0.75, and other creative proposals to better fund and improve fire service efforts throughout Washington State.  
  • In conjunction with other partners, WFC urges passage of HB 1169 (Peterson/Griffey) to clarify state law regarding cost reimbursement from insurance carriers for services and supplies used in the cleanup and removal of debris and hazardous substances that go beyond what taxpayers fund for fire department readiness.

Wildland Policy

  • Full reimbursement for mobilization costs – WFC, in conjunction with local agencies, is exploring possible legislation to enable fire service jurisdictions sending resources for state-approved mobilization events to recover the full cost of those resources with the aim of mitigating local disincentives to sending needed resources to other jurisdictions.
  • Pre-positioning of mobilization – WFC is exploring possible legislation to allow for the prepositioning of resources in instances of known, forthcoming mobilizations with the aim of engaging suppression efforts earlier.
  • Wildland fire funding increase – WFC strongly supports DNR’s request for a significant increase in funding for a variety of issues surrounding wildland fire that would lead to quicker, more robust response, increased prevention efforts, and better forest health practices.

Volunteer FF Pension

WFC is supporting an effort by the WSFFA/BVFF to increase the pension benefit for volunteer firefighters.  HB 1912 (Blake) & SB 5892 (Mullet) have been introduced and would increase the base pension by $50, up to $350/month, for all current and future retirees; remove the cap of 25 pension payments; increase the annual pension fee from $60 to $90; and increase the annual disability fee from $30 to $50. There will be no increase in administrative costs to the agency.

JATC Funding & Sustainability

WFC, in conjunction with the WSCFF, is exploring whether the JATC program should be moved from the State Fire Marshal’s Office to the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, where other apprenticeship programs are currently operated.

Washington State Association of Fire Marshals’ Issues

WFC supports WSAFM efforts on a number of legislative items, including food truck safety, townhome fire safety, and adult family home (AFH) fire safety.

 

RECENT LEGISLATIVE NEWS

Posted: Sep 17, 2019
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Interim Update

Following the adjournment of the 2019 Legislature in April, attention has focused primarily on Governor Inslee’s presidential campaign, as well as the House Democrats’ decision on who would succeed Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle) as Speaker of the House.  A handful of other changes at the Legislature have also occurred.

Governor & Statewide Elected Office News

The first major domino has fallen as Governor Inslee has given up his presidential campaign and will be running for Governor a third time.  With the decision, many top-level Democrats will remain in their current positions rather than challenging the incumbent Governor.  State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has pivoted to running for re-election as AG...

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2020 LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS

LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS

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