The 2019 Legislative Session begins in January of 2019. The Washington Fire Chiefs Legislative Committee has polled our members to establish our “Top 5 Goals” for the 2019 session, which were assembled by the Legislative Committee based on membership feedback. In addition, you will see bills we are following for 2019 begin to be added to the bill tracker as the session starts. The following has been established as our 2019 direction:

Sustainable Funding
Restructure the 1% levy lid cap
EMS cap raised to $.75
Mirror port authorities which are outside the $10
Fire Training Academy Funding
Improve Volunteer Firefighter Pension 
Incentivize Regionalization with exclusive funding options

Funding for State all-risk mobilization 


Posted: Aug 30, 2018
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State Sen. Christine Rolfes has been awarded the 2018 Honorary Fire Chiefs Award for her work to fund firefighter training and wildfire response during the 2018 Legislative Session.

Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) is a 23rd District lawmaker, and the award is given by the Washington State Fire Chiefs to legislators who have made a significant contribution to the fire service and demonstrated courage in leadership.
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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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