On Monday, the Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) delivered to the City Council a first draft of the city’s legislative agenda for the upcoming session starting in January.
The OIR is rushing to finish it up by the end of the month, since pre-session committee meetings begin next month in Olympia. OIR Director Lily Wilson-Codega asked Council members to deliver their feedback by next Monday; she hopes to have it finalized by October 29th.
The seven-page document is a laundry list of progressive policy issues, requests for funding, and demands for local autonomy. The list includes:
- removing state pre-emption for income taxes (and other progressive taxes), rent control, gun control, and “gig economy” industry regulation;
- increasing state funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs;
- statewide legislation reducing or eliminating the involvement of local law enforcement officials in immigration law enforcement, and particularly ICE detainers (unless supported by a federal criminal warrant).
- allowing law enforcement agencies to hire permanent residents, which would help to make police departments more closely resemble the communities they serve;
- removing barriers to entry for marijuana delivery services, to help reduce the impact of retailers on neighborhoods. Also harmonizing prohibiting underage marijuana use with those prohibiting underage alcohol use, and giving local jurisdictions the authority to establish marijuana vaping lounges;
- legislation facilitating the establishment of community health engagement locations (CHELs, which include supervised consumption sites);
- allowing local jurisdictions to use automated traffic cameras to enforce traffic laws in intersections and transit lanes;
- legislation defining drones and regulating their use;
- additional state coordination and funding for high-quality preschool for all;
- tax reform that leads to a more equitable and progressive tax structure;
- clarifying (and expanding) the role that public utilities have in electrification of the transportation and building sectors;
- local authority to impose development-related impact fees;
- policies addressing the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roadways;
- additional tools and funding to address the homelessness crisis;
- rebuilding the statewide public health system;
- raising new state revenue and increasing flexibility for local tools for affordable housing — including REET III;
- modifications in state laws to allow local jurisdictions to compete more effectively for federal funding for homelessness programs;
- expanding protections for tenants based on their sources of income.
If you have thoughts on any of these topics, or others you think should be a priority for the city to push for in Olympia, you should contact your Council members this week.