Week 5 and 6 brought committee action, floor action and budget deadlines for Washington Bikes’ legislative agenda.
We’ve now passed the halfway point of the 60-day legislative session. With only three weeks of session left, there is still much work to be done. Timelines and movement of bills continue at a rapid pace. Read on for a quick update on where things stand in Olympia for people who bike.
Legislation to update Washington’s e-bike laws
- SB 6434 (Rolfes) and HB 2782 (Kilduff) were exec’d out of the Transportation committees. SB 6434 moved forward with an agreement that work would be done to address the issue of a trail or greenway that runs through multiple jurisdictions having the potential for unique e-bike code in each of those jurisdictions along the trail.
- SB 6434 was voted on the full Senate floor on February 9. Senator King offered a floor amendment that requires local jurisdictions that share a trail be in agreement on a code change should they update their e-bike code from the state framework. This will prevent a mismatching of e-bike code along a single trail.
- Senators Rolfes and Nelson spoke enthusiastically in favor of the e-bike bill on the Senate floor. Final passage was 44-2 and the bill is now on to the House!
Legislation to strengthen Washington’s vulnerable user laws
- HB 2900 (Kilduff) was exec’d out of the House Transportation committee with the direction to keep working some of the concerns that had been raised my members during executive session.
- There are two proposed floor amendments that will makes some changes to the underlying bill, but work to address concerns the concerns that’d been raised. Read below for a description of the changes.
- The mandatory doubling of infractions will be deleted, meaning discretion will be restored.
- The Vulnerable User Education Fund will direct funding to educate and raise awareness of the public (and motorists) regarding interaction with vulnerable roadway users and with any remaining funds direct funding to educate law enforcement and justice professionals.
- A report back to the legislature will be required for analysis of citations given of the vulnerable user law (criminal and civil) and updating on the education/awareness programs being carried out.
- HB 2900 has been pulled out of Rules and is ready to run on the full House floor, it’s now a waiting game.
Budget priorities: Measuring the economic impact & health cost savings of biking and hiking in Washington
- Washington Bikes and Washington Trails Association in partnership have submitted a budget request for $125,000 to conduct the study of the economic and health benefits of hiking and biking for Washington state (Operating budget). The legislative sponsors of the requests are Senator Van De Wege and Representatives Barkis and Chapman.
- Budget requests were due last week. The supplemental budgets are expected to be released next week.
Wednesday, February 14 is House of Origin cutoff, bills will need to be passed out of their house of origin if they are to stay alive this session (unless they are considered Necessary to Implement the Budget). Committee hearing schedule will begin again on Thursday. SSB 6434 (e-bike bill) has been scheduled for a hearing in House Transportation Thursday, 2/15. Washington Bikes will continue to work on behalf of bicycling in Olympia over these next few weeks. Things are moving fast, but check back here for updates on our legislative progress!