The 2018 Legislative Session begins in January of 2018. The Washington Fire Chiefs Legislative Committee has polled our members to establish our “Top 5 Goals” for the 2018 session, which were presented for adoption at our WFC Board Meeting in September based on membership feedback. In addition, you will see bills we are following for 2018 begin to be added to the bill tracker as the session starts. The following has been established as our 2018 direction:

  • Sustainable funding for Fire, Rescue and EMS 
  • Fire Training Academy
  • 1% levy limit restructure
  • GEMT Implementation
  • EMS cap raised to .75/1000AV
  • Change funding to outside $10.00 limit
  • JATC program

  • Wildland Fire Policy Issues
    • Pre-positioning
    • Fast Aerial Attacks
    • Pre-Fire Mitigation 

  • Incentivize Regionalization
    • Identify and Remove Barriers
    • Identify statewide all-hazard response advantages 
    • Funding advantages     

  • Volunteer FF Recruitment and Retention 
    • Consider additional incentives
    • Bolster WFC program
    • Regional coordinator grant 

  • Hazardous Materials Planning and ResponseUpdate State CBRNE plan
    • Oil by Rail Safety
    • Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety


Posted: Jan 17, 2018
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Prepared by: J. Dylan Doty, WFC Lobbyist

Session Preview

The 2018 Legislature will convene on January 8 and is set to run for 60 consecutive days.  With slim margins in both the House and Senate (one-vote Democratic majority in the Senate; two-vote Democratic majority in the House), and this being a short session leading into what promises to be a hotly contested 2018 election cycle, most are optimistic that the session will end on time in early March. 

Key topics that may be in play in 2018 include the Hirst water issue and the Capital Budget, both of which are holdovers from 2017.  Additionally, the McCleary education funding issue will again be in play in 2018 with the state Supreme Court ruling that the Legislature has not yet fully complied with the original McCleary funding order.  Despite the Court’s seeming acceptance of the overall plan passed by the Legislature in 2017, the phase-in period for parts of the plan that don’t fully take effect until 2019 are in violation of the 2018 deadline set by the Court.  Accordingly, the Court has ordered the Legislature to come up with what amounts to approximately $1 billion in 2018 to more quickly implement the restructuring.  The court will also maintain oversight of the case and the $100,000-per-day fines the justices imposed in 2015.  The Court is requiring the state to report back to the court in April 2018, after next year’s legislative session is expected to end.  Whether this will lead to new revenue options or simply a reshuffling of this past year’s work remains to be seen.  The latest revenue forecast shows that state revenues have increased by nearly $319 million for the current two-year state budget, and that the state is projected to have nearly $2.8 billion in reserves by the end of the biennium.  It is possible that some of this money could be used to speed up the process on McCleary compliance.  It is also possible that new funding sources, potentially including a carbon tax, could be sought to supplement the state revenue.

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Posted: May 31, 2017
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Traditionally, the Washington Fire Chiefs have set the session priorities based on a survey sent mid-April to members.  From those priorities, the Legislative Committee met and put together a strategic list of our “Top 5 Legislative Goals” for the following year.
At the WFC Conference in May, the legislative goals were presented for input and adopted by the membership.
However; some concerns were expressed about the process being too early before the session ends. This year, the legislative committee has decided to try a different process, in the hopes of better meeting our member's needs...

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