This afternoon, the House Transportation Committee reported out House Bill 1180, one of NPI’s priority bills for this legislative session, with a “do pass” recommendation… but not before adopting a Republican-backed amendment that substantially watered down the bill for no good reason.
In its now-amended form, HB 1180 would grant new revenue authority to Sound Transit and King County to fund transportation projects. The original bill, prime sponsored by Jake Fey of Tacoma, would have also given this authority to Snohomish, Pierce, and Clark counties, but an amendment adopted in committee just prior to the vote on final passage stripped these counties out.
Sound Transit wants the new authority so it can go to voters in 2016 with a Sound Transit 3 package that would expand Link light rail and Express bus service. We strongly believe voters should have the opportunity to decide in 2016 whether they want to increase our investment in mass transit, and are supporters of this bill. (I testified in support of HB 1180 last week on NPI’s behalf.)
As a consequence of the passage of the amendment, one Democrat representing a county now excluded from being granted the new revenue authority voted against advancing the bill out of committee… Jim Moeller. That resulted in the bill passing by the narrowest of margins… one vote. The final roll call was thirteen ayes to twelve nays. All of the Republicans voted nay.
The Legislature’s website has not yet been updated to reflect the proceedings of today’s executive session, but it soon will be, and when it is, I’ll update this post with links to the amendment and the roll call vote.
UPDATE: Here is the roll call vote.
Majority Report: The substitute bill be substituted therefore and the substitute bill do pass
Signed by Representatives Clibborn, Chair; Farrell, Vice Chair; Fey, Vice Chair; Moscoso, Vice Chair; Bergquist, Gregerson, McBride, Morris, Ortiz-Self, Riccelli, Sells, Takko, and Tarleton (all Democrats)
Minority Report: Do not pass
Signed by Representatives Hargrove, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Harmsworth, Kochmar, Moeller, Pike, Shea, Wilson, and Young (all Republicans except Moeller)
Minority Report: Without recommendation
Signed by Representatives Orcutt, Ranking Minority Member; Hayes, Rodne, and Zeiger (all Republicans)
We’re not sure why Ranking Member Ed Orcutt’s bad amendment to exclude Snohomish, Pierce, and Clark counties received the support of any Democrats. Perhaps Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn figured that adoption of the amendment would result in at least one or two Republicans deciding to give the bill a “do pass” recommendation. If so, she was mistaken.
The Democrats got played.
HB 1180, we understand, now heads to the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Reuven Carlyle. Perhaps Carlyle’s committee can scrap the amendment and restore the bill to what it was. This may actually be necessary if the bill is to pass the House; if Democrats like Jim Moeller aren’t willing to support HB 1180 in its current form on the floor and Republicans don’t pony up any votes, it will not receive the constitutionally-required majority it needs.