NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

House Transportation Committee narrowly advances HB 1180 — after watering it down

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.

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