Legislative Session moves at lightning speed during short sessions, and week two, January 20-24, will focus primarily on public bill testimony and executive sessions. Transportation committees will be hearing several bills that affect counties, from vehicle definitions and public highway safety to road maintenance policy, and much more. Here is what we’ll be tracking:

On Monday, January 20,  the House and Senate Transportation Committees will hear:

  • HB 2186, Rep. Kilduff (D-University Place), concerns debris escaping from vehicles on public highways. HB 2186 places new restrictions and responsibilities on drivers for debris escaping from vehicles. Specifically, the bill would require drivers to cover or securely fasten every load. Public fleet vehicles are exempted if they are applying sand or deicers, sprinkling water, performing maintenance in response to an emergency, or performing operations within a work zone where the road or sections of the road are closed to the public. 

Actions by WSAC: WSAC has been working with the sponsor to ensure there are no adverse impacts to counties and believes we have come to a place where we can remain neutral on the bill. If you have specific feedback or concerns, please contact Jane Wall.

  • SB 6114, Sen. Dean Takko (D-Kelso), concerns all-terrain vehicles. SB 6114 amends existing law by clarifying “off road vehicles” do not include all-terrain vehicles. The bill goes on to allow all-terrain vehicles to operate on segments of state highway where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. 
  • SB 6363, Sen. Dean Takko (D-Kelso), concerns tracked all-terrain vehicles. Specifically, SB 6363 broadens the definition of snowmobile to include “tracked all-terrain vehicles.” It defines tracked all-terrain vehicles as any “wheeled all-terrain vehicle with tracks or a combination of tracks and skis installed in place of the standard low-pressure tires.” The bill allows owners of all-terrain vehicles to apply for snowmobile registration so long as the vehicle has been converted to a tracked all-terrain vehicle, and to allow for concurrent licenses, but separate registrations, for the vehicle. 

On Wednesday, January 22, the House Transportation Committee will hear: 

  • HB 2285, Rep. McCaslin (R-Spokane Valley), elevates road maintenance and preservation in transportation planning. Specifically, HB 2285 prioritizes preservation and maintenance as the “preeminent priority” in Washington’s transportation policy and planning goals. WSACE is supportive of this legislation. 
  • HB 2461, Rep. Riccelli (D-Spokane), includes health in the state transportation system policy goals. The health policy goal would be to consider the health implications and encourage active transportation when designing, building, and maintaining Washington’s transportation system. WSAC’s public health affiliate association (WSALPHO) is supportive of this concept.

On Thursday, January 23, the House Transportation Committee will hear:

  • HB 2243, Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen). This is the House companion to SB 6114 (all-terrain vehicles; see summary above).