Legislative Advocacy

2017 Legislative Priorities

Sustainable Policies, Sustainable Counties. Counties provide constitutionally and statutorily directed state services to all of Washington's residents. The Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) is working to secure clear and sustainable policies to provide all 39 counties with the foundation to provide sustainable service levels to every Washingtonian.

Questions regarding the WACO Legislative Priorities for the 2017 session may be directed to Scott Blonien, Executive Director or to Monty Cobb, Policy Director and General Counsel.

Fiscal Sustainability

HB 1764 / SB 5772 In 2014 the WACO membership previously adopted the Fiscal Sustainability Initiative (FSI), a joint, multi-year effort with our sister organization Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC). FSI seeks to improve county fiscal health through a number of legislative priorities addressing revenue and costs for counties. The primary FSI focus this session will be modification of the 1% limit factor imposed by statute to a new limit factor based on population growth and inflation.  Local jurisdictions will retain the authority to decide how much, if any, increase is appropriate for their circumstance. The proposal also includes an upper limit to avoid excessive increases. 

County Assessors

HB 1309 / SB 5188 The Assessors are asking to make RCW 84.33 consistent with RCW 84.34 by allowing waiver of compensating tax if removal from a tax classification is due to a natural disaster and to clarify in each statute that wildfires qualify as triggering events.   

The Assessors also support additional budget funds for the Board of Tax Appeals to enable the BTA to reduce backlogs and case processing timelines.

County Auditors

HB 1161 / SB 5187 The Auditors are seeking to improve their office efficiency by eliminating duplicate county inventories, standardizing commissioner reimbursement processes, and would end auditor duties in selection of a county’s newspaper of record, in air pollution control authority vacancy appointments, and in separate publication of certain fire protection district election results.  

HB 1345 The Auditors are seeking reasonable increases in certain licensing fees. These fees directly support services provided to the public by counties. The County Auditors are asking for a $1.50 filing fee increase -- the first increase in 20 years. The Auditors have included a revenue sharing procedure which would support those offices that lack sufficient licensing business and currently receive additional state funds.

County Clerks

HB 1396 / SB 5327 The Clerks support an administrative clean-up bill which eliminates both the Residential Time and Legal Financial Obligations reports which appear to be obsolete or unused. The request would also clarify RCW 2.32 on Clerks duties that the Clerks support the work of the courts as independent elected officials.

County Coroners and Medical Examiners

HB 1794 / SB 5612 The Coroners/Medical Examiners are seeking legislation to allow the State Investigations Council to authorize expenditures form the council's death investigations account appropriation to fund a new statewide case management system and to increase training. The proposal also seeks clarifying language to allow the Forensic Investigation Council to authorize expenditure of the additional funds for these purposes.

County Prosecutors

HB 1355
/ SB 5278 The Prosecutors support authorizing Public Safety Review Boards to decide Less Restrictive Alternative releases from Western or Eastern State Hospital (as opposed to their current advisory role). Unconditional release decisions would remain with the superior courts.

County Treasurers

HB 1283 / SB 5189 The County Treasurers are seeking to eliminate the pre-payment of estimated (or advance) tax required in RCW 58.08.040. The estimated tax on property divisions is held until the actual tax is determined and the taxpayer is either billed or refunded. This proposal would result in significant administrative efficiencies and eliminates an unpopular and confusing tax provision.

2017 Handouts

WACO Legislative Priorities 2017 Small Image