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.

More in News

Despite concerns, homelessness authority moves toward final Seattle vote

Seattle’s homelessness committee aligned the city’s plan with King County’s.

King County’s current climate action plan was adopted in 2015 and has provided a blueprint for reducing emissions and preparing for climate change. File photo
King County approves environmental justice provision

An update to the King County climate action plan should include an… Continue reading

Homelessness authority approved by King County, awaits Seattle vote

The agreement would consolidate emergency services for people experiencing homelessness.

The King County Courthouse is located at 516 Third Ave. in downtown Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Council approves $600,000 to increase security at King County Courthouse

The funding will be split evenly between increasing deputies, security and social services.

Victims, law enforcement speak about King County Courthouse conditions

An entrance to the courthouse was closed after an assault.

Blake Peterson/staff photo
                                City staff cut the ribbon in front of the facility.
Kirkland celebrates new parks maintenance facility

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Dec. 9.

Photo courtesy of city of Kirkland 
                                Construction workers at one of the sites.
Finn Hill, Highlands projects to provide safer routes around Kirkland schools

Both are part of Kirkland’s safer routes to school plan.

Caller upset over cat in cafeteria | Police Blotter

Police blotter for Nov. 29-Dec. 5.

The King County Sheriff’s Office, Bellevue and Kirkland investigators believe the same unknown suspect has robbed six different locations on the Eastside. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Suspect wanted after multiple robberies

Public’s help sought in identifying a man caught on security footage.

Most Read