2016 Washington State Legislative Session Preview

The 2016 session of the Washington State legislature will convene on January 11 for a 60-day session. Following a record 172 day session in 2015, expectations for 2016 are that the legislature will complete its business on time.

One of the major issues confronting the 2016 legislature will be addressing the Washington State Supreme Court decision that found charter schools, passed by a 2014 citizen initiative, to be unconstitutional. A bi-partisan group of legislators is expected to propose a statutory remedy to cure the issue of constitutionality. The legislature is also expected to prepare a plan to meet the Supreme Court’s ruling that the legislature is not funding K-12 schools appropriately. A small supplemental budget is also expected. Given the narrow 50-48 Democrat control in the House and the 26-23 Republican control in the Senate, there are not expected to be many issues of controversy.

NAIOP’s focus this session will be requesting the legislature clarify Washington’s vested rights doctrine in response to recent Court of Appeals decisions that questioned whether or not prior common law application of the doctrine to other types of project permits survived the Legislature’s 1987 codification of vested rights as applied to long subdivisions and building permits. Legislative action is needed in order to ensure continued certainty and predictability in the land use permit process. We also expect to see legislation introduced that will attempt to remove the state rent control pre-emption. NAIOP will oppose this legislation.

NAIOP will be providing updates during the legislative session on issues of interest to our members.

This article was written by NAIOP Washington State's state lobbyist, Greg Hanon, who can be reached at [email protected]

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