Contact Your Elected Officials
- District 1: Congresswoman Suzan DelBene
- District 2: Congressman Rick Larsen
- District 3: Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler
- District 4: Congressman Doc Hastings
- District 5: Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers
- District 6: Congressman Derek Kilmer
- District 7: Congressman Jim McDermott
- District 8: Congressman Dave Reichert
- District 9: Congressman Adam Smith
- District 10: Congressman Denny Heck
- Senator Patty Murray
- Senator Maria Cantwell
OPPOSITE HOUSE FISCAL COMMITTEE CUTOFF
Tuesday, April 9th was the final day for bills to be passed out of their respective opposite house fiscal committees. Any bills that were not passed out of their respective opposite house fiscal committees by the end of the day on Tuesday are now officially dead. The only exceptions are bills that are resurrected or deemed necessary to implement the budget.
HOUSE OPERATING BUDGET
The House Appropriations Committee released their operating budget on Wednesday, April 10th. The full budget and highlights can be accessed here. Below is a list of the highlights from that budget for the Department of Ecology (including my highlights of some of the most relevant items):
Department of Ecology
1. Reduce Watershed Planning Asst. – The Watershed Planning Technical and Financial Assistance Program provides assistance to local watershed groups to develop plans and to address watershed issues. State general fund provided for this work is reduced on an ongoing basis. Over 30 watersheds have adopted plans and remaining funds during the 2013-15 biennium will shift to support specific projects in three high-priority basins (Dungeness, Walla Walla, and Wenatchee) and fund implementation activities in the Chelan, Dungeness, Methow, Lower Lake Roosevelt, and Lower Spokane basins.
2. Air Quality Fund Shift – Work within the Air Quality Program related to preventing unhealthy air and violations of federal air quality standards is shifted on an ongoing basis from the state general fund to the State Toxics Control Account. (General Fund-State, State Toxics Control Account-State)
3. Reduce Air Pollution Control Acct. – Expenditure authority and staff are reduced on an ongoing basis in the Air Pollution Control Account to reflect lower-than-anticipated revenues. (Air Pollution Control Account-State) Office of Program Research – Fiscal Committees Page 112
4. Fund Shift to Toxics – State general fund expenditures are shifted on an ongoing basis to the State Toxics Control Account for activities in the Air Quality, Water Quality, Environmental Assessment, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance, and Administration Programs. (General Fund-State, State Toxics Control Account-State)
5. Reduce Product Stewardship Exp. – Expenditure authority is reduced on an ongoing basis in the Product Stewardship Programs Account to reflect lower-than-anticipated revenues into the account. (Product Stewardship Programs Account-Nonappropriated)
6. Reduce Flood Control Grants – The Flood Control Assistance Account Program provides grants and technical assistance to local governments for flood damage reduction projects and comprehensive flood hazard management plans. Competitive grants to local governments for flood hazard reduction projects are suspended on a one-time basis to achieve $2 million in savings. (Flood Control Assistance Account-State)
7. Reduce Freshwater Aquatic Weed Exp. – Expenditure authority is reduced on an ongoing basis in the Freshwater Aquatic Weeds Account to reflect lower available revenues from the boat trailer registration fee. (Freshwater Aquatic Weeds Account-State)
8. Reduce Emergency Water Account Exp. – Expenditure authority is reduced on an ongoing basis in the State Emergency Water Projects Revolving Account to reflect actual available funds. (State Emergency Water Projects Revolving Account-State)
9. Litter Account Reduction – Funding is reduced on a one-time basis in the Waste Reduction, Recycling and Litter Control Account for litter pickup, prevention and marketing, and for other work related to waste reduction and recycling. (Waste Reduction, Recycling and Litter Control Account-State)
10. Reducing Toxic Gasoline Vapors – Gasoline vapors contain toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, in addition to volatile organic compounds that contribute to smog formation. Federal and state laws require gas stations to manage emissions of those vapors with vapor-recovery and spill-prevention technologies. The 2012 Legislature restored a gasoline vapor inspection program in areas not under the jurisdiction of a local clean air agency. Expenditure authority and FTE staff are provided to reflect increased fee revenues to carry out the program and ensure compliance with those laws. (Air Pollution Control Account-State)
11. Pollution Source Regist Fund Shift – Facilities that produce air contaminants are required to register their pollutant emissions and are inspected periodically to ensure compliance with laws and permit conditions. During the 2011-13 biennium, fees were increased to more fully recover the costs of operating the program. Expenditure authority is shifted on an ongoing basis from the state general fund to the Air Pollution Control Account, which receives the increased fee revenue. (General Fund-State, Air Pollution Control Account-State)
12. Implementing Better Brakes Law – Brake pads contain friction material such as copper, asbestiform fibers, cadmium, lead, mercury and their compounds, that are released from pads and may then be carried into streams, rivers, the Puget Sound, and other Washington waters where it can be toxic to many aquatic organisms, including salmon. The 2010 Better Brakes Law bans certain brake friction materials, effective January 2014. A combination of one-time and ongoing funding and FTE staff are provided to continue implementation of this program, including publicizing and enforcing the ban, certifying manufacturer compliance, tracking friction materials, and assessing safer alternatives. (State Toxics Control Account-State)
13. Meeting Air Operating Permit Needs – Major sources of air pollution are regulated by the Department of Ecology (DOE) under the federally-mandated Air Operating Permit Program. Under both federal and state law, the costs of the program must be fully supported with fees paid by the sources. Expenditure authority and FTE staff are increased on an ongoing basis to reflect increased fee revenues to cover the cost of serving new sources entering the program, provide technical assistance to regulated entities, and on a onetime basis to conduct rulemaking to address industry concerns and ensure alignment with state and federal law. (Air Operating Permit Account-State)
14. Retain Beach Monitoring Program – DOE implements a program to monitor 70 marine swimming beaches for bacteria and to notify swimming beach users when data shows that water quality does not meet agency standards. A portion of the federal funding that has supported this work at 46 beaches will end during FY 2014. Federal expenditure authority is reduced and partially shifted to the State Toxics Control Account on an ongoing basis. The DOE will develop a matching grant program for local governments, tribes, and other entities to continue to carry out this work. (General Fund-Federal, State Toxics Control Account-State)
15. State Revolving Fund Admin Charge – DOE manages a water pollution facility loan program that provides low-interest financing to local governments for infrastructure projects designed to protect and restore water quality in local communities. Administrative oversight of the loan program has historically been funded through federal grants that are at risk of being eliminated within the next few years. DOE faces a projected deficit in the 2013-15 biennium in federal funds used to manage the loan program. Substitute House Bill 1141 (water pollution control loans) establishes a new loan administration charge for the loan program and funding is shifted permanently from the Water Pollution Control Revolving Account to the new Water Pollution Control Revolving Administration Account. Bridge funding from the State Toxics Control Account is provided to close the anticipated 2013-15 shortfall in funding for program oversight and administration. (Water Pollution Control Revolving Account-State, Water Pollution Control Revolving Account- Federal, Water Pollution Control Revolving Administration Account-State, State Toxics Control Account-State)
16. Stormwater Training Program – To address pollution resulting from stormwater runoff, DOE updated municipal stormwater permits to require stormwater-reducing low-impact development (LID) practices, where feasible, for new development and redeveloped properties. LID is a suite of construction technologies that use vegetation, healthy soils, porous pavement, and other tools to keep stormwater from running off-site and carrying pollution downstream. Funding and FTE staff are provided through FY 2016 for DOE to implement a comprehensive training plan for a wide range of audiences and stakeholders with a role in implementing LID techniques. (State Toxics Control Account-State)
17. Spokane Rivr Toxic Source Abatement – Sampling in the Spokane River has consistently found elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In 2011, DOE issued wastewater discharge permits requiring municipal and industrial dischargers to serve, along with community stakeholders and the Spokane Tribe, on a Regional Toxics Task Force (Task Force) to develop a comprehensive plan to bring the Spokane River into compliance with applicable water quality standards for PCBs, the highest priority toxic pollutant for this water body. A total of $250,000 is provided on a one-time basis as seed money for implementing the Task Force’s highest-priority recommendations, due in April 2013. An additional $100,000 is provided on a one-time basis, contingent on securing equivalent local matching funds, for assessing alternatives to PCB-containing pigments, inks and dyes. (State Toxics Control Account- State)
18. Energy Facility Site Evaluation – Pursuant to Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1374 (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council), ongoing funding and FTE staff are provided for increased participation in additional Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) meetings and for additional work reviewing complex site applications. One-time funding is provided for required rulemaking within the Air Quality Program related to air pollution and carbon dioxide currently restricting EFSEC-sized facilities. (General Fund-
Private/Local, Air Operating Permit Account-State)
19. Protecting Washington Shorelines – DOE provides financial and technical assistance to local governments to update their local shoreline master programs, many of which have not been updated in over 25 years. Base operating funding is insufficient to complete shoreline updates in time to meet statutory deadlines resulting from a 2003 negotiated legal settlement. One-time funding and FTE staff are provided for grants to local governments to complete their updates and for Ecology staff to provide technical assistance, financial accountability, and final review of shoreline updates. (State Toxics Control Account-State, Local Toxics Control Account-State)
20. Ultrafine Particulate Study – One-time funding is provided for a study to evaluate ultrafine particle air pollutants generated by the biomass co-generation facilities in Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The study is designed to determine whether or not the planned facilities will have an impact on air quality and the health of nearby residents. (State Toxics Control Account-State)
21. Flame Retardants – Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1294 (flame retardants) prohibits the manufacture, sale, and distribution of residential upholstered furniture and children’s products that contain certain chemicals over a specified amount in any product component, beginning July 1, 2015. Ongoing funding and FTE staff are provided for DOE to monitor and enforce the bans, and to implement the provisions of the bill. (State Toxics Control Account-State)
22. Derelict and Abandoned Vessels – Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1245 (derelict and abandoned vessels) authorizes several state agencies to continue existing and begin new activities aimed at reducing the number of instances of derelict vessels in waters of the state, and to reduce the complexity and severity of environmental degradation associated with derelict vessels. Ongoing funding and FTE staff
are provided for DOE to revise current or establish new general permits specific to hazardous material associated with the deconstruction, removal, and disposal of a derelict vessel, and for technical assistance and site inspections for facilities that would be regulated under the permit. (Water Quality Permit Account-State)
23. Wastewater Discharge Fees – DOE manages about 6,000 wastewater and stormwater discharge permits held by governmental, commercial, and industrial entities. The state Water Pollution Control Act authorizes DOE to collect permit fees to fully recover program costs, however, current fees do not cover some permit categories. Funding and FTE staff are increased on an ongoing basis to reflect increased fees on underpaying categories and will focus new resources on such priorities as source-control inspections and monitoring in Seattle’s Duwamish waterway, and inspections in the Spokane area and other currently underserved permit categories. (Water Quality Permit Account-State)
HOUSE AND SENATE CAPITAL BUDGETS RELEASED
Both the Senate and House Capital Budgets have now been released. The Senate Capital Budget was released on Tuesday. The full proposed bill and project summaries can be found here. The House Capital Budget was released on Wednesday. The full proposed bill and budget summary for the House Capital Budget can be found here.
Senate Bill 5895 was passed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Friday, April 5th, and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. Below is a summary of the bill:
Summary of Bill:
State Expenditure Limit. The state expenditure limit applies to the state
General Fund and two related funds – the Education Legacy Trust Account and the
Washington Opportunities Pathways Account, which is used for higher education financial aid programs. For the period from July 1, 2015, through July 1, 2023, the fiscal growth factor is the average of the sum of inflation and population change for each of the prior three fiscal years. For this period, the state expenditure limit does not apply to:
• state allocations to school districts;
• appropriations to state colleges and universities and state higher education financial aid programs;
• early learning programs;
• court rulings imposing new state costs;
• expenditures of extraordinary revenue growth to the extent that the revenue is not deposited into the Budget Stabilization Account; and
• appropriations for extraordinary growth in state entitlement programs, excluding new entitlement programs, expanded entitlements, and expanded Medicaid under thefederal Affordable Care Act.
Educational Cost-of-Living Adjustments. For the period from July 1, 2015, through July 1,
2023, the State Treasurer must annually transfer to the Education Legacy Trust Account from the state General Fund the amount that must be expended for educational cost-of-living adjustments under Initiative 732. This fund transfer is contingent on the enactment of
Substitute Senate Bill 5194, which repeals the cost-of-living adjustments. For the 2013-15 biennium, the amount will be approximately $320 million.
REET. From the revenues of the REET, 2.0 percent is deposited into the Public Works
Assistance Account, 4.1 percent is deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account, and the remainder is deposited into the state General Fund. Penalties for late payments of the
REET are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account.
Public Utility Tax. From the revenues of this tax, 20 percent of the revenue from water utilities and 60 percent from sewer utilities are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account.
Senate Bill Report – 3 – SB 5895.
Solid Waste Collection Tax. In fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018, the revenues from this tax are evenly divided between the state General Fund and the Education Legacy Trust Account.
Thereafter, all revenues are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account.
Unclaimed State Lottery Prizes. State lottery prizes that remain unclaimed after 180 days are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account.
Sales Tax. If changes in federal law or court decisions allow the state to collect sales tax on purchases from out-of-state sellers, the State Treasurer must annually transfer to the
Education Legacy Trust Account from the state General Fund the net increased amount estimated to be collected.
Common School Construction Fund. The Legislature declares that the first priority for state
general obligation bonds is capital appropriations for common school construction. If the
Legislature fully funds the state school construction assistance program with general obligation bonds, the Common School Construction Fund is available for current school expenses. Repayment to the Common School Construction Fund is necessary only if the school construction assistance program is not fully funded from other funds.
The State Treasurer is not required to annually transfer monies from the state General Fund to the Education Construction Fund.
State Debt Limit. The Legislature intends to meet its obligation to fund the K-12 school system, in part, by reducing future state debt service payments. The working debt limit is reduced over time from 9.0 percent to 8.5 percent on July 1, 2015; 8.25 percent on July 1, 2017; 8.0 percent on July 1, 2019; and 7.75 percent on July 1, 2034, and thereafter. Until
June 30, 2018, one-half of state property taxes are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account and one-half into the state General Fund. Thereafter, all state property taxes are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Account. Property taxes deposited into the
Education Legacy Trust Account are not counted toward general state revenues for purposes of calculating the state debt limit.
Last year Evergreen Rural Water joined WWUC (Washington Water Utilities Council). We hope that our membership will help us spread the word about important legislation that could end up effecting you, our members. If you have questions or comments about upcoming House or Senate Bills please contact our office (360) 462-9287.
House of Origin Cutoff
Wednesday, March 13th is the final day to consider bills in their house of origin. Any bills that have not passed their respective house of origin by the end of Wednesday will officially die. The only exception are bills that are resurrected or deemed necessary to implement the budget.
FirePALS Bill – House
On Monday, March 4th, the House of Representatives passed
HB 1512 by a vote of 97-0. The bill establishes and clarifies the authority of water purveyors to supply fire suppression water facilities and services for cities, towns, and counties, and to recover the costs of providing those facilities and services. It further provides liability protections for purveyors supplying fire suppression facilities and services. HB 1512 was referred to the Senate Committee on Governmental Operations.
FirePALS Bill – Senate
The Senate passed
SB 5606 by a vote of 45 – 2 on Tuesday, March 5th. The bill was referred to the Local Government Committee in the House of Representatives. The legislation allows purveyors to allocate and recover the costs of fire suppression water facilities and services, as well as providing liability portion for these purveyors.
Incentivizing Environmental Planning, Review and Infrastructure
HB 1717, relating to incentivizing up-front environmental planning, review, and infrastructure construction actions, was placed on the second reading calendar by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday, March 5th. This bill authorizes local governments to recover reasonable expenses incurred in the preparation of non-project environmental impact statements (EIS) for infill actions that are categorically exempt from requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act, and for development or redevelopment actions that qualify as “planned actions.” It establishes requirements governing recovery fee assessments and related appeals, including requiring the fees to be enacted through ordinances, and to be reasonable and proportionate to the total expenses incurred by the local government in preparation of the EIS. Furthermore, it modifies provisions governing contracting between qualifying municipalities and real estate owners for the construction of water or sewer facilities by making the contracts mandatory, at the owner’s request, and by allowing municipalities to collect associated fees.
As of Friday March 1, 2013
Public Works Board
On Thursday, February 28th the House Capital Budget Committee took executive action on HB 1484, concerning the public works board. Staff summarized the proposed substitute, noting that the substitute replaces state priority policies with eight distinct policy objectives, it does not authorize the board to approve non-traditional public works systems projects, it requires the board to develop a process to numerically rank applications and consider at a minimum eleven factors in any order. The substitute also requires the board to submit a ranked list of projects to the legislature for funding, as well as document these projects. The substitute also caps the funding for any one project at $10 million. The bill further requires a report every two years that details how the board is using the policy objects to guide its investments and what outcomes are projected by those investments. Finally, it requires local governments to demonstrate their capacity to repay any loans awarded through the public works board.
Representative Fey inquired about non-traditional public works projects and what would be considered a non-traditional project. Staff responded that in the original bill, these projects were defined as telecommunications, energy, flood levies, public buildings and facilities, rail, criminal justice facilities, and parks and recreation facilities.
Representative Stanford spoke on the bill, noting that it brings clarity to the public works board statute and helps modernize the process. Furthermore, it will allow for better results from public works board projects. Representative Warnick also spoke to the bill, echoing Representative Stanford’s comments. Representative Smith commented that she is a ‘reluctant yes’ vote on the bill, cautioning that it uses undefined language in some instances and that the committee needs to address the concerns raised on the amended language moving forward. The committee passed Substitute House Bill 1484 by a vote of 8 to 3 and passed to the Rules Committee for further consideration.
Consolidating New Exempt Withdrawals into Existing Water Systems
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government held a public hearing on Substitute House Bill 1375 on Monday, February 25th. Staff compared the proposed substitute to the original bill, noting that it provides that a Group A or B water system must be in compliance with all applicable water resource, water use efficiency, and drinking water requirements; requires the Group A or B water system to withdraw from the same body of groundwater as would have any exempt well serving the same development; and requires the water system to provide the Department with information from water meters that serve as the basis for calculating how much water was beneficially used. A fiscal note was requested for the substitute bill but was unavailable at the time of the committee hearing. The original bill’s senate companion (SB 5200) did have a fiscal note and staff summarized this for the committee: reporting and compliance requirements may impact DOE staff time to process but appears to be minimal; applications to change would be assessed at $50 for a total of $2,000 at end of biennium; 24 hours total staff time to process and issue; total cost for the 2013-15 biennia is $74,000.
Bill Clark with the Washington PUD Association spoke in support of the bill. The increasing number of exempt wells needs regulation and HB 1375 takes a preventative approach regarding smaller water systems, so that these systems can be consolidated into existing, well-run systems – in the end, this will save money.
Dawn Vyvyan, Yakima Nation and Puyallup Tribe, spoke in opposition to the bill. On the fiscal side, there may be more time and money needed to adequately prove that any consolidations would not interfere with instream flows, and to ensure consolidations would not conflict with senior water rights. She also indicated that the tribes would be concerned with any bill that attempts to use exempt water to fulfill the needs for future development.
Miguel Perez-Gibson, on behalf of the Colville Confederated Tribes, spoke to the fiscal aspect of the bill. He echoed Dawn Vyvyan’s concerns, adding that in order to ensure that no senior water rights are encroached upon, the fiscal note may well be larger than anticipated. Chair Hudgins then closed public hearing on the bill. Although executive session was scheduled, no action was taken on HB 1375.
Watershed Planning Grants
On Monday, February 25th the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government held a public hearing on HB 1924. Staff to the committee gave both a policy and fiscal summary of the bill. On the policy portion of the HB 1924, the bill allows additional, match-free, local watershed planning grants of up to $50,000 for lead entities or plan implementation groups that commit to conducting a review every five years to ensure that the highest priority issues are being addressed. The legislation further gives priority to funding watershed planning grant applications that would result in the dissolution of a planning unit if not for receiving the grant. Staff discussed the fiscal aspect of the bill, noting there will be no direct impact. Representative Hunt asked about the $2.9 million reduction from the Governor and staff responded it would leave about $2.3 million for grants.
Dave McClure, Director of Klickitat County Natural Resources, spoke in support of the bill. These funds, he explained, are essential to coordinate committee meetings with local governments and conservation districts, as well as with DOE and the general public. They also use the funds to identify projects to implement plans and to vet them (example: aquifer storage systems). There were no questions for Mr. McClure and Chair Hudgins then closed public comment on HB 1924. No executive action was taken on the legislation.
February 11, 2013 a group of ERWoW delegates (Executive Director Tracey Hunter, Board Member/NRWA Director JD Smith and Drinking Water Taste Test Winner Rod Fadden with the City of Sumas) traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss rural water funding for fiscal year 2014 (FY14). The meetings that we hold with our Congressional Representatives are very important it allows them to hear face to face how our programs are helping their constituents. At the time of our visit sequestration was looming and there had been no decision on the FY13 budget. We had great meetings and all of our delegation supports funding for rural water programs, however it will depend on the FY14 budget and if a continuing resolution continues for FY13 as to how much support we will receive.Check back often, as we receive a commitment of support from our delegation I will post their support.
This week we are working on FY2012 funding levels. Please make a call and send an e-mail this week asking your representative to support the levels under the Senate column in the table below. Make sure you ask your delegation’s staff to express their support with a call or an e-mail to the agriculture appropriations subcommittee staff. The subcommittee staff are meeting this week to resolve some of the simpler issues and will likely start making funding decisions by the middle of next week. For your convenience, I have included the funding levels below:
FY 2011: 15,000,000
House FY 2012: 14,000,000
Senate FY 2012: 15,000,000
FY 2011: 4,250,000
House FY 2012: 3,605,000
Senate FY 2012: 3,817,000