Gov. Inslee Torpedoes Bill That Would Help Districts Find Affordable Land for Schools
In vetoing part of a bill that would great help school districts look for land in more rural areas, Gov. Inslee let part of his environmental agenda leak out.
According to the Spokesman Review Newspaper and other sources, Inslee vetoed part of House Bill 1017 that was approved by the legislature. The bill would have allowed 'urban' or city districts to seek land for additional schools in more rural areas. The bill specifies that districts could more freely look for affordable land in areas that are less populated or unincorporated, provided they prove a justified need for growth.
However, Inslee says he wants to see revisions to the bill. Specifically, he wants the sewer and water pipe systems in these areas to be zoned in such a way, size wise, that other developments cannot be legally tied into them. He reportedly fears that housing or other commercial development could follow a school into a less populated area, utilizing the new sewer and water infrastructure.
It appears Inslee, and his environmental backers, fear this bill would supposedly violate the state's Growth Management Act. Inslee allowed a part of the bill to stand, that would permit the Bethel School District to build in an unincorporated part of Pierce County. But Inslee said that school was already years in the making so he let it stand.
Inslee depended heavily upon environmental special interest support in his election campaign, and now critics say they control how he governs on virtually all issues. They say instead of doing what's best for the state, he views all issues through the lens of how it will affect the environment--even education.
His decision to veto will affect Richland, who was seeking build another high school soon, as well as areas of the Spokane Valley and Mead (north of Spokane).
Now legislators will have to revise the bill during the current legislative overtime session.