Published on Mar 12, 2018

Cities come out strong as 2018 session wraps up

Contact: Dave Williams

When the 2018 legislative session began, AWC’s goals were to come away with:

  • Shared revenues intact;
  • Few (if any) new unfunded mandates;
  • New resources to help tackle homelessness and chemical dependency issues on our streets; and
  • Help expanding economic development and affordable housing opportunities in cities large and small.

In this first non-overtime session in many years, our goals have generally been achieved. We were able to do this for several reasons.

  • First, the state’s overall economy is strong and thrives mainly in cities. Most legislators recognize that and refrained from messing with success.
  • Second, our priorities matched or at least weren’t contradictory to legislators’ in either party or chamber. Yes, there were times when we didn’t agree or get all we hoped for, but those times were few and far between.
  • Third, and perhaps most important, there are a growing number of former city elected officials serving primarily in the House and they know and remember what it takes to keep cities strong and viable. They talk with their city officials, us and one another. Along with some former county officials also serving, they strategized with AWC and the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) to make it clear to their fellow legislators that helping cities stay strong is a necessity. They are a force to be reckoned with. You’ll hear more about them in the coming weeks and months.

What’s next?

This is our final weekly Bulletin for the session. This issue contains some highlights of the last hectic week of the session. We’ll soon start working to compile our more complete wrap-up, which will come to you early next month after the Governor takes action on bills. In the meantime, we’re beginning to consider a variety of ways to hear from cities across the state on what our priorities might be for the 2019 legislative session.

Thank you!

On behalf of our AWC Team, I’d like to thank the countless city officials who helped make this a successful session. Your engagement, support, questioning of our positions and approaches all helped us in trying to represent the city perspectives.

A fond farewell

Finally, on a point of personal privilege (as legislators say on the floor sometimes), I want to share that after working for AWC on behalf of cities in a variety of capacities for the last 32 years, I will be retiring at the end of June. While I’ve valued every moment of this professional experience, the most important parts have been the people that I’ve worked with who are dedicated to improving the lives of current and future generations living and working in our communities, and the natural and physical environment that makes Washington such a special place.

Copyright © 2018 Association of Washington Cities