From the Woodinville Weekly

With the Washington State Legislature preparing to begin in January, now is the time for Woodinville to compile a list of priorities for the 2020 session.

The legislative agenda will direct the city of Woodinville’s efforts in the state legislature. City Council discussed key issues of concern at the meeting on Nov. 19. The draft agenda will be considered for adoption Dec. 3.

The legislature will convene for a short 60-day session Jan. 13. Since this is the second year of the biennium, many issues addressed will either be carried over from the 2019 session or needed corrections to previously passed legislation.

Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator Diana Hart said the legislators will likely focus on necessary budget issues and policy changes, while also updating the state’s 2019-21 biennial operating budget.

Lots of bills will be introduced, but not a lot will be enacted into law, she added.

In the last session, Woodinville was successful in securing continued streamline sales tax mitigation payments but was unsuccessful in obtaining funding for the State Route 202 capacity and pedestrian safety improvements.

The 2020 agenda still aims to achieve these requests.

Hart said her staff took 2019 priorities and tweaked them to include updated needs.

The current draft agenda identifies two primary items and four key issues for the upcoming session.

“We often like to keep things high level for broad coverage of issues,” Hart said. “Things kind of come up on the fly. Knowing a high level where you stand allows staff to quickly respond to things and make any comments necessary to legislatures as needed.”

The City requests $5 million in funding to remove a critical bottleneck in Woodinville’s portion of SR 202, according to staff reports.

The funds would also create a safe and accessible transportation corridor for SR 202, existing freight service, and a future multi-use trail corridor that crosses at the same location.

“We rely heavily on partnerships with the state to fund those projects,” Hart said.

City staff requests funding for fish-blocking culverts, affordable housing, homelessness prevention, mental health and dependency programs, tools to assist local communities and infrastructure programs.

Staff also recommends the City request maintenance of the streamlined sales tax mitigation payments secured during the previous session. Planning efforts related to the Growth Management Act is another priority carried over to this year.

Councilmember Susan Boundy- Sanders asked staff to clean up “muddy language” and add specificity in the draft agenda. She said legislative efforts should be more concrete and crisp.

Mayor Elaine Cook said the City should not be hesitant in asking for more money to fund projects. She said other local cities are receiving more funding for transportation projects simply because they showed specificity when asking.

Staff was uncertain if the state’s transportation budget would be altered after Initiative 976 was passed in the recent November election. Council expressed concern about future requirements as a result of the voter-approved measure.

Woodinville is in the 45th district, along with Duvall and parts of Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and unincorporated King County. Reps. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, and Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, represent the House.

Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, won a special election in November 2017, giving Democrats full control of the state Senate. Both the House and Senate chambers are currently controlled by Democrats as the session nears.

By Madeline Coats