SENATE BILL REPORT
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.
As Reported by Senate Committee On:
Government Operations & Security, March 31, 2015
Title: An act relating to authorizing regular meetings of county legislative authorities to be held at alternate locations within the county.
Brief Description: Authorizing regular meetings of county legislative authorities to be held at alternate locations within the county.
Sponsors: Representatives Appleton, Johnson, Hansen, Takko, Gregerson and Fey.
Brief History: Passed House: 2/11/15, 87-11; 2/12/15, 80-17.
Committee Activity: Government Operations & Security: 3/23/15, 3/31/15 [DPA].
SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS & SECURITY
Majority Report: Do pass as amended.
Signed by Senators Roach, Chair; Benton, Vice Chair; Pearson, Vice Chair; Liias, Ranking Minority Member; Dansel, Habib and McCoy.
Staff: Sam Thompson (786-7413)
Background: County legislative authorities, including county councils and boards of county commissioners, hold regular meetings at county seats to transact business required or permitted by law. They may hold special meetings at other locations in the county. However, under an interpretation of current law, certain actions, including adoption of ordinances, can only be taken in regular meetings.
Summary of Bill (Recommended Amendments): As an option exercised no more than once per quarter, a county legislative authority may hold regular meetings at a location outside of the county seat but within the county if the county legislative authority determines that meeting at an alternate location would support greater citizen engagement in local government.
The county legislative authority must give notice of the meeting at least 30 days in advance. At a minimum, notice must be posted on the county's website, published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, and sent via email to any county resident who has chosen to receive notice in that manner regarding a regular meeting held outside of the county seat.
EFFECT OF CHANGES MADE BY GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS & SECURITY COMMITTEE (Recommended Amendments): Limits frequency of regular meetings held outside of the county seat to no more than one meeting per calendar quarter, and provides that the county legislative authority must provide notice at least 30 days before the meeting, rather than 20 days.
Fiscal Note: Not requested.
Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony on House Bill: PRO: Great distance or travelling time to a county seat prevents some citizens, including older citizens, from fully participating in county government. This legislation facilitates greater access and accountability by allowing county legislative authorities to take final action, in meetings outside of the county seat, regarding decisions that may specifically apply to certain locales, such as shorelines. Counties support this measure.
Persons Testifying: PRO: Representative Appleton, prime sponsor; Rob Gelder, Kitsap County; Laura Merrill, WA State Assn. of Counties.
Persons Signed in to Testify But Not Testifying: No one.