AGC Members and Staff Have Huge Impact on 2009 Legislature

By David DHondt AGC Executive Vice President

Given what we were faced with in the 2009 Legislature the eventual outcome is a compelling reason why contractors should want to be members of AGC of Washington. A well thought-out and Board-adopted plan a hard working staff and unprecedented member involvement seriously slowed or derailed the runaway train in Olympia.

Look at what we were up against: Democratic supermajorities in the House and Senate a Governor that we didnt endorse Labor being Labor and the economy in the tank. 2660 bills were introduced and 598 bills were adopted and sent to the Governor.

The plan started last summer with the Legislative Retreat. Under the leadership of Past Government affairs Chairman Butch Brooks Government Affairs Chairman Gene Colin and Vice Chairman Mark Perry the 2009 AGC Legislative Policies and Priorities were initiated along with a new strategic plan. These documents were an integral part of our success because they created a clear framework for how we would approach the session in 2009 and beyond. There was valuable member input through the whole process.

Bringing the plan to life was artfully and tenaciously accomplished by our legislative staff in Olympia through a total team effort. They monitored or were involved with 113 bills that passed. AGC played significant roles in 40 bills that were adopted. The leadership of Government Affairs Director Rick Slunaker led the team to a well reasoned researched and fine-tuned course of action to quote Gene Colin.

The AGC membership provided expert testimony on five key bills: Retro False Claims Sales Tax Port of Seattle Parking Facility Financing and Undisputed Claims. All five resulted in what AGC wanted. The first two were killed the third heavily amended to make it workable and the remaining two were adopted. AGC members generated over 3700 emails to legislators in less than a week through AGC of Washington Legislative Alerts on the Sales Tax bill alone. Legislators commented that AGC members had an immense impact on the bill through their email action.

During the session over 40 members also took the time to attend AGC Lobby Day. It was the most successful Olympia event in recent memory with AGC members making over 20 visits to legislators from their districts on that one day.

The key here is going forward. I encourage you to stay involved. The session may be over but there is lots of work still to be done. This summer the members will be asked to establish and strengthen personal relationships with legislators in their home districts. It is a key part of the Government Affairs Strategic plan. The talented staff will help and even make it easy for you to participate.

Was it a perfect session for AGC? Absolutely not. But rest assured that our opponents intended on getting their train a lot further down the track.