Legislative Update - Jan 25, 2019

January 25, 2019

In addition to the bills we reported on last week, we’re presently keeping our eye on a few more that are coming into focus:

SB 5372 - Concerning local project review of permit application

Bill Summary: This bill requires local jurisdictions respond to permit applicants regarding complete applications within 10 days of submittal - down from the present 28 days – otherwise it will be deemed procedurally complete.  It also requires that local jurisdictions respond to new information within 5 days of submittal - down from the present 10 days - otherwise it will be considered procedurally complete.

Futurewise Position: We oppose this bill.  Local jurisdictions are already stretched thin at the permit counter, and this bill would allow permits to be procedurally correct even when missing important information, further degrading the permit processes already in place.

HB 1233 - Concerning the use of science pursuant to the Growth Management Act.

Bill Summary: This bill removes best available science and changes “available science”. Further it allows “expert opinion on a topic indicating local authorities did not adopt policies consistent with scientific information in the record or presented later before the board are not grounds for finding noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter”. It essentially removes the role of state agencies to enact important critical area updates based by ignoring the science they are based upon.

Futurewise Position:  We oppose this bill.  Using best available science is key to enforcing and enacting key environmental regulations across the state. Using consistent science across jurisdictions provides for uniformity and understanding in requirements.


HB 1544 - Addressing the effective date of certain actions taken under the Growth Management Act.

Bill Summary: This bill provides that for an urban growth area expansion, the de-designation of agricultural, forest, or mineral resource lands of long-term commercial significance, the creation or expansion of a limited area of more intensive rural development, the establishment of a new fully contained community, or the creation or expansion of a master planned resort, the effective date is the latest of the following dates:

  • Sixty days after the date of publication of the notice of adoption of the comprehensive plan, development regulation, or amendment;
  • If a petition for review to the Growth Management Hearings Board (Board) is filed by a person with standing, the date the Board issues its final order. Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the notice of adoption. The Board must issue its order within 180 days; or
  • If a county violated the GMA requirement that the rural element of the comprehensive plan must protect surface and ground water resources, the effective date is the date county adopts the updated rural element.

Futurewise Position: We support this bill.  This is the permit vesting reform bill that we worked to develop and have supported for the last three years.  The bill would effectively put an end to allowing action on permit applications that violate state law and degrade the environment– a reform that many progressive states have already adopted in some format.


SB 5249 - Eliminating certain requirements for the annexation of an unincorporated “islands.”

Bill Summary: This bill removes the ability for a referendum on “island” annexations

Futurewise Position: We support this bill, as we support city’s efforts to annex “island” areas of unincorporated urban areas. Unfortunately, this bill would only apply to a handful of annexation areas, particularly in Thurston County.

Tune in next week for an update on these bills, and more about our involvement in Olympia.