Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Update, March 5, 2018



March 5, 2018


The Puget Sound Partnership's Legislative Update highlights issues related to our region's work to protect and recover Puget Sound.

  • The 90-day 2018 regular Legislative Session ends March 8, 2018.
  • Puget Sound Legislative Updates are posted on the Partnership's website.
  • View the Puget Sound Partnership's 2018 Legislative Agenda.
  • Find up-to-date legislative information online.
  • Watch or listen to hearings and work sessions online.
  • Connect with the Puget Sound Partnership for breaking news and other events affecting Puget Sound on Twitter @PSPartnership and Facebook @PugetSoundPartnership.

If you have questions or concerns about the legislative priorities for the Puget Sound Partnership, please contact: Jeff Parsons, Legislative Policy Director, 360.999.3803.


2018 Legislative Session Ends Thursday

Under the legislatively adopted Session Cutoff Calendar, Friday, March 2, was the last day for each house to pass bills originating in the opposite house. The Legislature is now considering only legislation that relates to the budgets, as well as legislation that has passed both houses, but was altered in the process. This year’s legislative session is constitutionally limited to 60 consecutive days, which means that Thursday, March 8 will be the last day of the 2018 Regular Session.


Supplemental Operating and Capital Budgets Under Discussion

Both houses have now passed their own respective versions of supplemental operating and capital budgets. The process of developing these budgets began last December when Governor Inslee submitted his budget requests to the Legislature. The Partnership’s official agency position is based on the Governor’s budget requests.

HB 2299 and SB 6032, Governor Inslee’s Supplemental Operating Budget request for 2017–2019, includes the following elements, which the Partnership supports:

  • $2.23 million in federal funding authorized for expenditure by the Partnership. The authorization also permits the addition of two full-time staff.
  • $3.1 million to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to address the limiting factors for Southern Resident orca recovery and support a task force, expected to be established soon by the Governor.
  • $790,000 to the WDFW to complete a final phase of the early marine steelhead survival study, which tests management strategies and develops a plan to reduce mortality rates and improve survival.
  • $979,000 to the Department of Ecology (Ecology) for developing spill contingency plans and geographic response plans and for conducting oil transfer inspections to address spill risks associated with the transportation of non-floating oil, such as diluted bitumen from Canadian tar sands.

HB 2395 and SB 6095, Governor Inslee’s Supplemental Capital Budget request for 2017–2019 includes the following elements, which the Partnership supports:

  • $14.6 million Ecology for stormwater retrofit projects. Preventing pollution from stormwater runoff is one of three strategic initiatives to recover Puget Sound. Preventing such pollution also addresses one of the main threats to Southern Resident orca recovery.
  • $5.7 million to the WDFW for hatchery upgrades to produce more salmon in support of Southern Resident orca recovery.


Key Puget Sound-Related Issues Receive Varying Funding in Budget Options

The various options under consideration in the House and Senate, to be resolved by Thursday, March 8, include the following Puget Sound-related funds.


Operating Budget


  • Authorization to spend federal funds (to the Partnership). The House and Senate proposed budgets both match the Governor's request of $2,234,000
  • Early marine steelhead survival study (to WDFW). The House and Senate proposed budgets both match the Governor's request of $790,000
  • Sourthern Resident orca recovery (to WDFW).
    • Governor's request: $3,100,000
    • House proposal: $793,000
    • Senate proposal: $1,500,000
  • Oil spill prevention.
    • Governor's request: $979,000
    • House proposal: $137,000 (plus one-time transfer of $4,720,000 from the Oil Spill Response Account)
    • Senate proposal: $1,143,000 (plus one-time transfer of $4,720,000 from the Oil Spill Response Account)

Capital Budget

  • Stormwater retrofits to benefit Southern Resident orca (to Ecology)
    • Governor's request: $14,600,000
    • House proposal: $10,000,000 (of $11,400,000 increase in the Stormwater Financial Assistance Program)
    • Senate proposal: 0
  • Hatchery upgrades for salmon production for Southern Resident orca recovery (to WDFW)
    • Governor's request: $5,700,000
    • House proposal: $825,000 (for "minor work," believed to be for salmon production)
    • Senate proposal: $500,000
  • Dungeness River off-channel reservoir (to Ecology)
    • Governor's request: 0
    • House proposal: $2,500,000 (earmarked from the $20-million Hirst Fund)
    • Senate proposal: 0
  • Skagit water supply development (to Ecology)
    • Governor's request: 0
    • House proposal: $2,500,000
    • Senate proposal: 0


Legislation Related to Puget Sound Protection and Recovery Still Pending

Southern Resident orca recovery



PSSB 5886. Relating to natural resources (Orca Protection Act).

  • Directs WDFW to conduct marine-based education and enforcement patrols.
  • Restricts aircraft, drones,* and vessels** from approaching Southern Resident orcas within 200 yards and also restricts vessels from exceeding 7 knots within 400 yards of a Southern Resident orca. *The restriction on drones was removed by floor amendment. **Another adopted floor amendment exempted from penalties people who make reasonable efforts to comply with distance restrictions, but are approached by a Southern Resident orca.
  • Requires a study on the effects of human-generated marine noise on orca.
  • Requires that Washington state and British Columbia representatives meet to coordinate orca recovery strategies.
  • Increases the initial and renewal fee for an endangered wildlife special license plate by $5.


Status: Passed the Senate on a vote of 34 to 15, on March 3. The bill is exempt from cutoffs.


Oil transportation safety


P2SSB 6269. Strengthening oil transportation safety.

  • Applies the barrel tax to crude oil received by pipeline.
  • Directs annual allocation of $200,000 to the Military Department.
  • Directs Ecology to report to the Legislature about funding needs and makes recommendation for sources of funding. A floor amendment precludes recommendations of sources other than, or in addition to, currently existing sources.
  • Requires the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to review, assess, and provide a report on vessel traffic safety in northern Puget Sound.
  • Requires Ecology to establish the Salish Sea Shared Waters forum. By floor amendment, the section establishing this requirement expires July 1, 2021.
  • Requires Ecology to update contingency plan rules to address situations where oils may sink or submerge in water.
  • Authorizes Ecology to require at least one joint large-scale, multiple plan equipment deployment drill of onshore and offshore facilities and covered vessels, every 3 years.


Status: Passed the Senate on a vote of 42 to 7, on March 3. The bill is exempt from cutoffs.


Addressing Atlantic salmon and other non-native finfish aquaculture in marine waters


EHB 2957. Reducing escape of nonnative finfish from marine finfish aquaculture facilities.

  • Prohibits the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from entering into a new, or renewing or extending an existing, aquatics land lease or use authorization that allows nonnative marine finfish aquaculture as an authorized use.
  • Prohibits specified state regulatory agencies from authorizing or permitting activities associated with the use of marine net pens for nonnative marine finfish aquaculture after the expiration date for the existing aquatic lands lease.
  • Creates a reoccurring facility inspection process for operations involving marine finfish aquaculture.
  • Directs specified state agencies to update existing guidance and resources on planning for and permitting commercial marine net pen aquaculture.
  • Specifies that separation from employment as a result of the bill is a qualifying event for purposes of the Training Benefits Program.

Status: The bill passed the House on a vote of 67 to 31, February 14, and the Senate, without amendments, on a vote of 31 to 16, March 2. After being signed by the House and Senate presiding officers, the bill will be delivered to the Governor for his action.


Carbon tax


P2SSB 6203. Reducing carbon pollution by moving to a clean energy economy

  • Imposes a carbon pollution tax equal to $12 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions on the sale or use of fossil fuels within Washington state and the generation or import of electricity in Washington generated using fossil fuels.
  • Increases the tax rate by $1.80 per metric ton, beginning July 1, 2021, until reaching $30 per metric ton of carbon dioxide.
  • Directs the carbon tax revenues to be distributed into four accounts for activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions connected to energy use and other activity in Washington; provides assistance to vulnerable communities and workers in fossil fuel industries; increases climate resilience; and supports rural economic development.
  • Establishes a Clean Energy Investment Program for both investor-owned utilities and consumer-owned utilities to allow an electric or gas utility to claim a credit of up to 100 percent against the carbon tax for approved investment in projects that reduce or offset carbon emissions from the utility.

Status: Lacking the votes needed to pass, the bill was referred back to the Senate Rules Committee and is likely dead for this session.


Onsite septic systems


HB 2420. Establishing requirements related to State Board of Health rules addressing the repair and inspections of onsite sewage systems.

  • Failing onsite sewage systems. The Board of Health rules must:
    • Give first priority to repairing and second priority to replacing an existing conventional onsite sewage system.
    • Not impose more stringent performance requirements of equivalent onsite sewage systems on private entities than public entities.
    • Allow repair of an onsite sewage systems using the least expensive alternatives that meet standards and is likely to provide comparable or better long-term sewage treatment and effluent dispersal outcomes.
  • Inspections of onsite sewage systems. The Board of Healthy rules must:
    • Require coordination between the owner and certified professional inspector or public agency prior to accessing the onsite sewage system.
    • Require authorization by the onsite sewage system owner for inspection by a certified inspector or public agency unless the local health jurisdiction obtains an administrative search warrant following existing procedures.
    • Forbid local health jurisdictions from conditioning onsite sewage system permits with requirements for inspections or maintenance easements of onsite sewage systems located on a single property servicing a single dwelling.

Status: The bill failed to pass by the March 2 cutoff and is considered dead for this session.




HB 2634. Concerning use of antifouling paints on recreational water vessels.

  • Extends various prohibitions on the use and sale of copper-based antifouling paints to January 1, 2021.
  • Directs Ecology to submit to the Legislature a report concerning antifouling paint, including the environmental impacts of antifouling paints and their ingredients, recommendations for safer alternatives, and recommendations for the development of regulatory standards for antifouling paint.

Status: The bill passed the House on a vote of 98 to 0, February 8, and the Senate on a vote of 49 to 0, March 1. After being signed by the House and Senate presiding officers, the bill will be delivered to the Governor for his action.


HB 2658. Concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging.

  • Conditionally restricts the inclusion of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in specific applications of food packaging beginning as early as 2022, pending the outcome of an alternatives assessment to be completed by the Department of Ecology by January 1, 2020.

Status: The bill passed the House on a vote of 56 to 41, February 12, and the Senate on a vote of 30 to 17, February 28. After being signed by the House and Senate presiding officers, the bill will be delivered to the Governor for his action.


SB 6413. Reducing the use of certain toxic chemicals in firefighting activities.


  • Requires the presence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in firefighting personal protective equipment to be disclosed at the time of sale, beginning July 1, 2018.
  • Restricts the manufacture, distribution, and sale of foam designed for flammable liquid fires that contains PFAS chemicals, beginning July 1, 2020.
  • Directs Ecology to help other state agencies and local governments to avoid buying firefighting foam that contain PFAS chemicals and to give priority and preference to the purchase of firefighting personal protective equipment that does not contain PFAS chemicals.
  • Prohibits the use, for training purposes, of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals, beginning July 1, 2018.


Status. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 39 to 8, February 10, and was amended and passed the House on a vote of 72 to 26, February 27. The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence with the House amendments.