yakima city council

The city of Yakima’s lobbyists will update council members at Tuesday’s council meeting about the recent legislative session and what might be coming up in 2020.

The city’s legislative priorities included addressing homelessness and affordable housing, domestic violence, and gang prevention, intervention and suppression.

Luke Esser and Nick Federici, the city’s lobbyists in Olympia, note in their presentation that newly approved laws cover many of these concerns.

Homelessness and affordable housing

Four bills passed, allowing local jurisdictions to use a portion of existing state sales tax revenues for homelessness services and affordable housing, offering incentives of up to $100,000 in planning grants to jurisdictions that adopt voluntary affordable housing and urban density policies, enacting condominium liability reform to encourage private condo construction, and allowing the use of 0.25 percent of real estate excise taxes to address homelessness and affordable housing through 2025.

The bills were House Bills 1406, 1923, 5334 and 1219.

Domestic violence

Six bills passed aiming to address domestic violence in Washington, including House Bill 1149, which changes the sexual assault protection order statute to clarify that victims do not need to allege reasonable fear of future dangerous acts.

House Bill 1225 requires confiscation of all guns and ammunition of alleged abusers when probable cause of crime exists. Weapons may not be returned for at least five days.

The other bills address no-contact orders, risk assessment sentencing, supervision and treatment; training and data collection by law enforcement and information sharing with victims who experience traumatic brain injuries during domestic violence attacks, and a “New Hope” program that would make it easier for people to clear old misdemeanors and felonies from their criminal record.

Gang prevention

The state provided

$1 million for a competitive grant program for criminal street gang prevention and intervention that the Department of Children, Youth and Families will administer.

The department will prioritize applicants that have demonstrated the greatest problems with criminal street gangs and that have a documented history of administering effective prevention and interventions.

The lobbyists note that El Nuevo Camino, a pilot program to address gang violence in Central Washington, is well-

positioned to possibly receive that grant money.

Other issues

Other legislative priorities included behavioral health, the transportation network, environmental cleanup, the Yakima Air Terminal and capital projects. Legislative progress on those issues will be detailed by the lobbyists at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda: a council resolution rescinding an E-verify requirement for city contracts, a resolution detailing changes to the council’s public comment process, and resolutions authorizing agreements of $75,000 of community development block grant funding for both the Yakima Police Activities League and the Opportunities Industrialization Center for youth programming and services.

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall in downtown Yakima. Time is set aside for public comment. It will air live at 5:30 p.m. on Y-PAC, Charter Cable channel 194 and streamed live online at www.yakimawa.gov/council/live-stream/.

Reach Lex Talamo at ltalamo@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.