Courtesy of Washington Secretary of State’s Office

Courtesy of Washington Secretary of State’s Office

Transportation and housing among King County’s top legislative priorities in 2020

Legislature will begin meeting Jan. 12.

With a short legislative session on the horizon for 2020, King County is opting to focus its lobbying efforts on a handful of broad topics.

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote Nov. 20 on draft of these topics. The top five items are protecting and enhancing local transportation options, securing funding for roads and bridges, increasing affordable housing, increasing funding for behavioral health services, and protecting public health.

Mac Nicholson, director of government relations for the county, said the county reassessed its top priorities following the passage of Initiative 976, which will reduce state funding for transportation projects. This is likely reflected in the county’s goal of protecting local transportation, he said. Nicholson also said that it being a short legislative session, some bills may not make it to a vote this year.

The county is also facing a significant shortfall in funding for roads and bridges. It is set to run out of money for capital projects in roughly five years, a problem that is credited to restrictions on property tax increases as well as incorporation taking away portions of the county’s tax base.

There are other priorities, but King County Councilman Larry Gossett said that for the first time in several years, there weren’t any criminal justice reform items on their top priorities. These items include bail reform for low-income people and expungement of records.

“Why did criminal justice as an issue not reach the threshold to be on our agenda?” he asked.

Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles also questioned why a top priority wasn’t lobbying to change the taxing structures to factor in inflation and population growth.

The item was passed without a recommendation and could be approved and altered by the county council on Nov. 20. The Washington State Legislature will begin meeting Jan. 12 for at least 60 days. That time could be extended if needed. Gov. Jay Inslee will release his proposed budgets in December.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Sound Publishing file photo
Remi Frederick, a Village Green employee, receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 26 in Federal Way.
County health officer looks to community immunity instead of herd immunity

Herd immunity may be unlikely to reach King County anytime soon, but… Continue reading

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. File photo
Auburn man charged with threatening to kill Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

Seattle Police say an Auburn man left a death threat on Seattle… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
Police search for suspect in fatal shooting of 8-year-old Federal Way girl

The girl’s father was initially arrested by police, but further investigation has revealed a new suspect.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
New laws will tax the rich, offer aid to low-income workers

Inslee signs bill creating capital gains tax; foes are challenging it in court as unconstitutional.

Washington state case count since March 2020. WA Governor's Office
Pandemic pause: King County remains in Phase 3

No Washington state counties will be rolling back their phase under the… Continue reading

Courtesy of Washington Military Department
Washington gets mobile earthquake alerts

Washington state will have its own earthquake early warning system on May… Continue reading

file photo
Mother of victim who was killed in the CHOP is suing Seattle for “invited lawlessness”

Her lawyer claims first responders failed to assist the young victim before he died.

Remi Frederick, a Village Green employee receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 26 in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
King County positive COVID cases are beginning to fall

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in King County is beginning to… Continue reading

Most Read