Legislative Action

Pacific Northwest Coast Alliance

Stand up for Our Region Against the Department of Defense 

 

For updates on the status of HB 1628, click here.

For updates on the status of HB 1386, click here.

To find/contact your Legislators, click here.

While our current campaign is focused on halting the expansion of the Growlers on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, we are standing up to stem the tide of ever-increasing military operations in the Pacific Northwest. To that end, we are fighting two bills making their way through the legislature right now. House Bill 1628/ Senate Bill 5748 would create an account and a mechanism for state dollars to be funneled to projects the military prioritizes as aiding their mission. House Bill 1386 / Senate Bill 5571 is a complex tax bill that would permit the creation of “Military Benefit Zones” around bases to create additional taxes to fund public projects the military has created a need for, but won’t fund. This bill could obligate jurisdictions near military installations to projects and new taxes. The SDA opposes both these bills and encourages those interested in a more balanced approach to Washington’s hosting military installations to contact your state representatives and senators to voice your concerns.

UPDATE: Due to your quick actions, when SDA leaders Maryon Attwood and Larry Morrell travelled to Olympia to testify on HB 1628 before the Housing, Community Development & Veterans committee, the committee members knew who they were and what their concerns were. THANK YOU!

Click here for video of the hearing.

After the testimony,  the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kristine Reeves, sought out our team, discussed our concerns and invited amendments to the bill that would make it acceptable to our members. That is real progress.

Although the bill needs A LOT of work – we are hopeful that we can influence the process to make this something that makes sense for our state. If not, we will work to kill the legislation. Thank you again for your calls and emails to the committee members this week – it made a real difference.

BACKGROUND: The last bill Representative Reeves tried to get through on this topic set up the military commanders as having final say on land use planning and established a $10 million pot of money each budget cycle to be passed out to communities with military compatibility issues.  There were other provisions, but those were the key ones. As we know, it got shot down in the last two sessions – both times it died in committee. HB1628 takes a smaller step in this direction by setting up the ACCOUNTS that would disburse the money, but does not have any funding included in the bill.

If this bill passes – the next step is to give it funding – as in past versions.

This raises 3 major questions: funding sources, criteria for funding, and decision-making process for funding.

How to Submit Written Testimony

In the House.  Email your written testimony directly to all committee members as well as to the Committee Chair or the Chair’s. (See below)  Be sure to include the bill number and your position on the bill.

Please comment on HB1628 over the next 3 days. These legislators have NO IDEA about other opinions – it’s our job to educate them. KEEP YOUR COMMENTS BRIEF & RESPECTFUL.

For complete and official information on how to send a comment on a bill, click here.

We have critical concerns in three areas:

  1. Funding sources

The current community issues to be addressed and the potential impacts have been created by the presence of the military, therefore, the funding, we believe, should not be borne by the citizens of Washington.  This amounts to paying for both the problem and the solution.  Citizens pay federal taxes to support the military, then will be asked to pay local and state taxes to fix the impacts the military created.

To address this, the bill should restrict funding to federal sources only.

  1. Criteria for funding projects

The bill requires Federally initiated land use processes and recommendations from the United States Armed Forces to be used as the key criteria to prioritize projects for funding.  No where in the bill are local communities without military installations consulted or asked how military activities have impacted their community.  Many communities without military installations have significant adverse impacts and their voice is completely absent in this process.  The criteria should be local community-centric, not subject to the desires of the military whose goals are mission-centric, not community-centric.

To address this, the bill should establish a state-wide citizen or local government commission to solicit input on issues of military compatibility from the community point of view.  The criteria should be aligned with the aims defined in RCW 43.330.050, Community and economic development responsibilities:

Efforts to increase economic opportunity; local planning to manage growth; the promotion and provision of affordable housing and housing-related services; providing public infrastructure; business and trade development; assisting firms and industrial sectors to increase their competitiveness; fostering the development of minority and women-owned businesses; facilitating technology development, transfer, and diffusion; community services and advocacy for low-income persons; and public safety efforts. 

 

Attracting more military missions to the State is not listed as a responsibility of the Department of Commerce.  Additionally, expansion plans by the DOD are posing significant threats to the economic and environmental health of our communities.  These activities are not helping to diversify our struggling communities.

  1. Decision process for funding

The bill provides that only the director the director’s designee may authorize expenditures. The decision must consider criteria established in the United States DoD’s readiness and environmental protection program.

This proposed process excludes any public involvement, notifications or hearings on projects to be funded.  Given the proposed structure, this bill effectively puts the DoD in charge of which projects should be funded.

To address this, the bill should use a citizens advisory committee to make recommendations to the Department to fund projects from a community point of view.  While the final decision may reside with the Director, the input of citizens should carry significant weight.

Conclusion

The Sound Defense Alliance is encouraged that the legislature is addressing the issue of inadequate funding for communities impacted by the federal military activities in our state.  However, the approach in this bill to have the citizens of Washington fund projects prioritized by the military is not the right approach.   The role of the legislature is to advocate for the people of Washington, not the DoD.   If this fund is to be set up. it must be driven by the communities and funded by the DoD, not Washington tax payers.

We oppose this bill as written and recommend HB 1628 not move forward.

Representative District Phone/Email
Ryu, Cindy (D)
Chair
32nd, Lynnwood, Shoreline (360) 786-7880

Cindy.Ryu@leg.wa.gov

Morgan, Melanie (D)
Vice Chair
29th, Lakewood, Spanaway (360) 786-7906

Melanie.Morgan@leg.wa.gov

Gildon, Chris (R)
Ranking Minority Mem. (Ret. Army)
25th, Puyallup (360) 786-7968Chris.gildon@leg.wa.gov
Barkis, Andrew (R)
Assistant Ranking Minority Member
2nd, Eatonville – E.of Olympia (360) 786-7824

Andrew.barkis@leg.wa.gov

Corry, Chris (R), Vet supporter 14th, Yakima (360) 786-7810

Chris.Corry@leg.wa.gov

Entenman, Debra (D) 47th, SE King County (360) 786-7918

Debra.Entenman@leg.wa.gov

Frame, Noel (D) 36th, Ballard, Magnolia (360) 786-7814

Noel.Frame@leg.wa.gov

Leavitt, Mari (D)  (co-sponsor) 28th, Tacoma, JBLM (360) 786-7890

Mari.Leavitt@leg.wa.gov

Reeves, Kristine (D) (sponsor) 30th, Federal Way (360) 786-7830

Kristine.Reeves@leg.wa.gov