March 30, 2020

Washington State Legislative Wrap-Up

With another banner year for housing in the books, we are now looking forward to implementing newly passed bills as they become law. During a short 60-day session we also secured historic investments in a supplemental budget year for affordable housing—$174 million!

We have many thanks to give around which include, most importantly, the prime sponsors of our bills, which include Rep. Frank Chopp, Rep. Nicole Macri, Rep. Cindy Ryu, Rep. Mari Leavitt, Rep. Beth Doglio, Rep. Amy Walen, Rep. Tana Senn, Sen. Rolfes, Rep. Lisa Callan, Sen. Patty Kuderer, and Sen. Joe Nguyen. Each member, among many others, were fearless and tireless champions for affordable housing and early learning. We are thankful for their leadership and look forward to partnering with them again in the future to continue advocating for the implementation of these policies and to address still unmet and critical needs in housing.

We also want to acknowledge all of the amazing housing and early learning advocates that turned out every week to testify on bills and reach out to their law makers. Our partners in the affordable housing and early learning communities showed up big in many ways, and we’re thankful for that support!

Below is a brief summary of the bills that were on our lead and support agenda this session and the status of each. If you have any questions on any of this, please feel free to reach out to us!

Bills Passed and Awaiting the Governor’s Signature

  • HB 1590 Statewide Councilmanic Sales Tax - Provide counties the authority to levy the 0.1% sales tax for mental health and supportive housing through councilmanic action.
  • HB 2384 Fix the Property Tax Exemption for Affordable Rental Housing - Increase the 50% AMI threshold to 60% AMI, allowing tenants to increase their income without causing a nonprofit to lose the exemption.
  • HB 2456 Extend the Working Connections Child Care Homeless Grace Period from 4 to 12 months - for families experiencing homelessness to remove barriers to accessing child care. This extension will maintain access to the high-quality early learning environments for homeless children and provide continuity of care for kids.
  • HB 2634 Exempt Affordable Housing Acquisitions from the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) - Eliminate the real estate excise tax on sales or transfers of real property to a public housing authority, public development authority, or nonprofit.
  • 2617 Concerning the lease or rental of surplus property of school districts - Allows school districts to lease or rent district owned surplus real property without including a provision in the lease or rental agreement to recapture the land for school purposes if the property is leased or rented for affordable housing purposes.
  • 2797 Concerning the sales and use tax for affordable and supportive housing - Modifies certain provisions of, and extends various deadlines related to, the local sales tax for affordable or supportive housing (HB 1406 trailer bill).
  • HB 2919 King County REET Windfall - Adjusts the amount and use of county fees on REET. Provides counties with population over 2 million the ability to use a percentage of taxes collected for maintenance and operations of permanent supportive housing.
  • 2950 MFTE Extension - Extends MFTE until December 31, 2021. Directs the Department of Commence to contract with a nonprofit organization to convene a work group to study and make recommendations on certain aspects of the MFTE program.

Bills that Did Not Pass this Session

  • HB 2110 Lodging Tax Clarification and AMI Adjustment - Clarify homeless youth provision includes homeless youth facilities and that King County may bond for homeless youth facilities. Adjust the AMI to 0 to 80%.
  • HB 2382 Community and Technical College Faculty and Employee Housing - Making it easier to build employer-owned employee housing on college campuses.
  • HB 2453 Ensure that Tenants are not Unfairly Evicted - Require landlords have a legitimate business reason for making someone move.
  • HB 2629 Universal Service for Certain Properties - Waive municipal utility connection charges for entities developing shelter, transitional, or permanent supportive housing.
  • HB 2661 Early Learning Investment - Support new state investment in early learning, including early learning facilities, to ensure all Washington children have access to affordable, high quality child care and preschool. Died in House Appropriations, but $66M for early learning was included in the final budget, plus an additional $7.2M for early learning facilities.
  • HB 2779 Implement sensible rent stabilization to provide protection for renters and relief to those struggling to keep up with the rising cost of rents.
  • HB 2896 Revise Public Lands Statute - Provide clarity for implementation issues in Seattle and King County. Include DOT in surplus lands report. Give Commerce direction on report development to ensure a usable list of surplus properties is derived.
  • 2948 Concerning housing programs administered by the department of commerce - Reforms the HTF and modifies fees charged to affordable housing projects.
  • SB 6512 Teacher Housing - Clarifies the authority of all Washington school districts to issue voted tax-exempt general obligation bonds for teacher housing.
  • SB 6618 Create a Regional Housing Finance Authority to create equitable housing developments around high capacity transit in King County.
  • Protect the Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability act funds to ensure they are preserved for their intended purpose to serve vulnerable youth.
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