Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Environment & Energy Committee

SSB 5151

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Requiring the growth management hearings board to topically index the rulings, decisions, and orders it publishes.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Local Government (originally sponsored by Senators Wilson, L., Becker, Honeyford, Zeiger and Short).

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Requires the Growth Management Hearings Board (Growth Board) to take certain actions to publish and categorize its decisions on the Growth Board's website.

  • Requires the Growth Board's website of decisions to be searchable by topic, party, and geographic location, or by natural language.

  • Requires all Growth Board rulings, decisions, and orders issued before January 1, 2019, to be published by June 30, 2020.

Hearing Date: 3/12/19

Staff: Robert Hatfield (786-7117).


Growth Management Hearings Board.

The Growth Management Hearings Board (Growth Board) was created pursuant to the Growth Management Act (GMA) and has the authority to hear petitions alleging noncompliance with the requirements of the GMA. The Growth Board consists of seven members qualified by experience or training in matters pertaining to land use law or land use planning and who have practical experience in those areas. All Growth Board members are appointed by the Governor. Members are appointed for six-year terms. Decisions of the Growth Board may be appealed to Superior Court.

Administrative Procedure Act—Indexes of Opinions.

With some exceptions, each agency shall keep on file for public inspection all final orders, decisions, and opinions in adjudicative proceedings, interpretive statements, policy statements, and any digest or index to those orders, decisions, opinions, or statements prepared by or for the agency.

Summary of Bill:

The Growth Management Hearings Board (Growth Board) must publish all decisions and orders on a searchable database made available on the Growth Board's web site. To ensure uniformity and usability of the searchable database, the Growth Board must, in coordination with Department of Commerce and other interested stakeholders, develop a rational system of categorizing its decisions and orders. The Growth Board's web site must allow a user to search decisions and orders by topic, party, and geographic location or by natural language.

All Growth Board rulings, decisions, and orders issued before January 1, 2019, must be published by June 30, 2020.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.