The State of the State Budget
We are already entering the home stretch of the 2020 legislative session. Last week, the state Senate and House of Representatives released their proposed budgets, giving us our first look at how the Legislature will fund our priorities with this year’s supplemental budget. Here’s an update on key budget items for hikers to know.
We are entering the home stretch of the 2020 legislative session. Last week, the state Senate and House of Representatives released their proposed 2020 supplemental budgets. This is our first look at how the Legislature plans to fund WTA’s legislative priorities, which provides an important opportunity for hikers to take action.
Here’s an update for hikers on how WTA’s legislative priorities landed in the proposed budgets:
No Child Left Inside
We are thrilled to see both the House and Senate operating budgets fully fund our request of $500,000 for the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) grant program. NCLI has long been a priority for WTA and our partners. The continued support of this important program is critical to ensuring that all youth can experience the outdoors. Read more about the recent No Child Left Inside legislative Day in Olympia.
Washington State Parks
We are pleased to see a continued commitment to funding maintenance and operations work in Washington State Parks in the Senate budget, with a total allocation of $2.3 million. The House budget provided a lower level of funding at $910,000. This funding would go toward increased park staff and Washington Conservation Corps to work on maintenance. While we are glad to see funding provided in both budgets, we hope to see the budget provide the Senate’s funding level.
Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Funding
The House budget provided $75,000 for the one-time funding through the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) for an outdoor-recreation advisory group. The advisory group would bring together state agencies and stakeholders to develop a bold vision and 25-year legislative strategy to invest in, promote and support state outdoor recreation in Washington. WTA is working closely with state agencies and nonprofit partners to create sustainable funding sources for outdoor recreation, and this group can serve as a critical next step in advancing these efforts. We are excited to see the advisory group funded in the House and hope to see it included in the final budget.
Discover Passes for Libraries
We are excited to see the Senate dedicate $35,000 in funding for the expansion of Discover Passes in libraries. This legislation would allow any library to request two Discover Passes to make available for checkout by library patrons. SB 6670 has emerged this year as an important bill to continue the expansion of access to trails, and we hope to see this legislation pass through the Legislature and be fully funded in the final budget.
Next Steps & act now!
The Senate and House of Representatives will now work together and vote on a final compromise budget before session adjourns on March 12. Make your voice heard by writing in to your legislators below! We will update you on the final outcomes, so be sure to sign up for our Trail Action Network to stay in the loop.