Apparent activity on controversial bill stirs Houghton community
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
April 28, 2011 · Updated 1:03 PM
A measure that took aim at the Houghton Community Council last legislative session is seemingly back in play.
House Bill 1812 was introduced in February at Rep. Larry Springer's (D-Kirkland) request and passed the House on Feb. 26. But prompted by public outrage, Springer asked the Senate to remove the bill from the agenda in March.
Now, Houghton residents are questioning why the bill - which aims to effectively end community councils in Washington State - is back before the House Rules Committee in Olympia this week. Several HCC members contacted the Reporter, calling the move a "surprise" and "non-transparent" process.
According to Lorrie McKay, Communications Program manager for the City of Kirkland, the bill's current movement is "largely mechanical."
"It's simply part of the regular end-of-session legislative process, whereby every bill that didn't make it through either or both chambers ... is 'by resolution' returned to its house of origin, to the highest status it received," McKay explained in an e-mail to Kirkland Council members.
She added that the legislative process allows such bills to stay alive for a biennium - the length of an actual legislative session.
"No bill dies completely during that time frame," Springer said, noting there are currently more than 2,000 House and Senate bills along with HB 1812 that are going through the same procedure.
Some residents question what the likelihood is that the measure could start moving again during the Legislature's current 30-day special session.
"There is no likelihood - we will not move the bill," said Springer. "When we had this kerfuffle, I made the commitment then that I wouldn't act upon the bill until the next legislative session. Even though the bill is technically alive, I will not do anything to move the bill."
He said whether he or anyone else re-introduces the bill, that won't occur until January 2012. If the bill is not passed by the end of the 2012 legislative session, it will die completely.Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).