Advocacy

Advocacy: WSAC Supports Counties

WSAC serves as a forum to build a statewide county legislative agenda. The fact that WSAC represents all 39 counties is key to building the coalitions needed to pass helpful legislation and likewise prevent harmful legislation. WSAC utilizes various tools to keep members up-to-date on legislative activities throughout the year.

Legislative Steering Committee (LSC)

The Legislative Steering Committee (LSC) is composed of one member from each of WSAC’s member counties as well as each of the four County Executives. The LSC has two co-chairs that are appointed biennially by the WSAC President. Co-chairs may not also serve as members of the WSAC Executive Committee.  LSC members have frequent interaction, particularly during the state’s legislative session with legislators, agency staff, and representatives of other organizations.  In addition to setting the policy direction for the association through the Legislative Agenda, LSC members are expected to attend regular meetings during legislative session and to communicate with legislators regarding WSAC’s legislative priorities.

Next Meeting

june, 2020

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Legislative Priorities

Fish Barriers

Counties support legislation and funding that will help to remove fish barriers with a regional and watershed approach in mind. Just fixing state fish barriers will do nothing to solve the overall problem. The Legislature must provide funding and long-term commitment from the state to remove county-owned fish barriers; stop eliminating project match requirements; funding for monitoring and maintenance of passable culverts; streamlining project permitting; and tools that assist in project delivery.

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Public Defense

Access to a defense attorney is a fundamental constitutional right where the responsibility has been passed down to counties. The Legislature funds less than 4% of the costs and counties spend $156 million annually. For equal access to justice, the Legislature must fund the full cost of trial court public defense services.

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Unfunded Mandates

The Legislature has continued to shift costs through policy changes and legislation down to county government. To pay for these unfunded mandates, counties divert funds from road maintenances leaving critical public safety positions unfilled to meet the obligations from the state. Counties oppose any changes that will increase county costs without funding attached.
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Involuntary Treatment Act Court Funding

Washington State’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) allows the courts to commit individuals to a free-standing behavioral health Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) facility or psychiatric hospital against their will for a limited time period. These involuntary civil commitments are meant to provide for the evaluation and treatment of individuals with a mental or substance use disorder who may be gravely disabled or pose a danger to themselves or others, and who refused or are unable to enter treatment on their own. However, funding for ITA must be separate and distinct from other healthcare funding and must not cut into existing non-Medicaid behavioral health crisis funding.
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LSC Roster

Legislative Bulletin

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