Lisa Gardner

2024 Legislative Outcomes

Lisa Gardner, Director of Communications & Community Engagement, No Phone Number Available

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 10:26 a.m.

Hate Crimes

SB 5427 and SB 5917, which were both considered tier 1 priority bills for the City, have been passed with broad bipartisan support and are expected to be signed into law. These bills were prompted by the defacement of Spokane's rainbow crosswalk and other acts of vandalism, and they have strengthened Washington's hate crime law to include damage to public property. Additionally, a hate crime hotline has been established in the Attorney General's Office to provide resources to victims. We appreciate the hard work of Council Members Zappone and Dillon in pushing for the passage of these bills. For more information on getting involved in our Human Rights Commission or our Equity Subcommittee, visit the following pages:

Shelter Funding

The City of Spokane has prioritized securing additional state funding for homelessness. This effort has resulted in a budget proviso of $4 million to help transition people from Trent Resource Assistance Center (TRAC) to smaller shelters and extreme weather centers. The Council, Mayor, and staff delegation did an excellent job in Olympia last month, meeting with lawmakers and state agencies to advocate for this and other City priorities. For more information on Housing Assistance and Sheltering visit the City’s resources page.

Street Medicine

Former Governor Christine Gregoire, who now leads a philanthropic group called Challenge Seattle, invited the mayor to collaborate on a rapid-response approach to providing medical, mental health, substance abuse, and case management services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Spokane and Seattle joined forces to secure $1 million each to pilot street medicine programs. The City is currently updating its federal agenda and will seek additional funding.

Automated Traffic Cameras

The City has been advocating for years to authorize noncommissioned officers to issue traffic camera violations, which will help to reduce costs and free up resources for other law enforcement needs. HB 2384 has been approved and grants this authority. It allows traffic cameras on state routes within city limits, such as Division Street, work zones, bus lanes, and other locations with higher collision rates. The fines are capped at $145 but can be doubled in school zones. Additionally, the bill has an equity component, making first-time infractions committed by people receiving public assistance eligible for a 50 percent reduction. Council Member Zappone worked closely with the Association of Washington Cities to make this bill more favorable for Spokane. For more information on Traffic Calming, please visit the City’s Traffic Calming page.

Latah Valley Fire Protection

The City of Spokane has been awarded $350,000 to construct a permanent fire station in Latah Valley. This region, located in the southwest of Spokane, is experiencing rapid growth and is highly vulnerable to wildfires. Furthermore, it is challenging for the emergency equipment from the City to reach this area. The new facility will be a multijurisdictional resource for the City, County fire districts, and state Department of Natural Resources. Council Member Dillon and Marlene Feist’s team played an essential role in the successful outcome of this project.

Housing Conversions

SB 6175 allows the City to establish a tax deferral program for converting underutilized commercial properties into affordable housing. Initially, the intention was to provide a more comprehensive property tax incentive, but the Department of Revenue raised concerns about its constitutionality. Consequently, the bill was revised to include a sales and use tax instead. This bill offers Spokane an additional tool to encourage more housing development. Council Member Bingle and Economic Development Director Steve MacDonald's team went above and beyond to ensure the passage of this bill.

State Funding for City of Spokane

City of Spokane Flag

Finally, The City of Spokane secured over $9 million in state funding for community investments, projects, and infrastructure. This funding has been allocated for various purposes, such as behavioral health, public safety, transportation, and capital improvements. We can support Spokane's growth and development thanks to the Washington State Legislature's three budgets. Some of the notable investments include:

  • $4 million to help the City of Spokane transition people from the TRAC shelter to smaller shelters and extreme warming centers.
  • $1 million to launch a rapid-response street medicine pilot program.
  • $3.05 million in Clean Building Performance Grants for the Spokane Public Facilities District
  • $650,000 for carbon emissions reduction at the Waste-to-Energy facility
  • $330,000 for Underhill Park sport court rehabilitation
  • $300,000 for the Latah Valley Fire Station
  • $93,000 for the Northeast Youth & Family Services Creativity Project

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