Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



State Government, Elections & Information Technology Committee

HB 1999

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: Concerning elections in port districts that are coextensive with a county having a population of over one-half million.

Sponsors: Representatives Gregerson, Stokesbary, Ryu, Hudgins, Cody, Pollet, Santos, Senn, Springer, Fitzgibbon, McBride, Stanford, Kagi and Slatter.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires that certain port districts be divided into commissioner districts that are the same as county legislative authority districts beginning in 2019.

  • Makes this requirement applicable to any port district with five members that is coextensive with a county having a population of over 1.5 million and a legislative authority of nine members.

  • Provides for a transition from five at-large positions to nine district positions, and requires that the commissioners receive the same salary as state legislators.

Hearing Date: 1/9/18

Staff: Sean Flynn (786-7124).


Port districts are established in various counties of the state to acquire, construct, maintain, operate, develop, and regulate rail or motor vehicle transfer and terminal facilities, water transfer and terminal facilities, air transfer and terminal facilities or any combination transfer and terminal facilities and other commercial transportation, transfer, handling, storage and terminal facilities, and industrial improvements. Powers of the port district must be exercised within the district, through a port commission consisting of three or five members.

Summary of Bill:

Beginning in 2019 any port district with five members, and whose boundaries that are coextensive with a county that has a population over 1.5 million, must be divided into the same commissioner districts as the county legislative authority.  Commissioners must reside in the district in which they are elected and receive the same salary as a member of the Washington Legislature.

Commissioner serve four-year terms. Commissioners elected prior to 2019, with at least two years remaining in his or her term, may complete his or her term in a new commissioner district. If districts are redrawn, and more than one incumbent commissioner resides in the same district, the commissioners determine "by lot" which will represent the district for the remainder of the term. The initial election of commissioners under this act include all positions that do not retain an incumbent.  The county auditor must select which positions subject to the initial election are staggered by two and four year terms, so that four positions will expire at the end of 2021.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available. New fiscal note requested on January 5, 2018.

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