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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Kirkland allocates CARES Act funding

The council approved the city manager’s plans for the $2.6 million

Celebrate Kirkland festivities on previous July 4. Reporter file photo
Kirkland hosting virtual ‘Celebrate Kirkland’

The Independence Day virtual event includes footage from previous parades and firework displays

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Locals enjoy the water at Juanita Beach Park, where the Friday farmer’s market is located. Katie Metzger/staff photo
Juanita Beach to close at least a week from bacteria

This closure is in addition to the previous week’s closure that was caused by a toxic algal bloom in the water.

Most Read