HB1233 tries to preempt science and experts

Sometimes there is a bill in the legislature that is so egregious that you hope no one is dumb or evil enough to let it leave committee. In the case of HB1233, all the sponsors are from the same party and the opposing party is in charge of the committee. At issues is this line, a dangerous precedent, a slippery slope:

“reaffirms that ultimately elected officials have the authority to make decisions that differ from what the science and expert opinions in the public record may advocate. “

Read it for your self. The sponsors of this areWashington Districts
• Carolyn Eslick (R) – 39th
(Skagit, Snohomish)
Morgan Irwin (R) – 31st
(East Pierce/King)
Dan Griffey (R) – 35th (Mason)
Drew MacEwen (R) – 35th (Mason)
If they are your representatives, take notes.


State of Washington

66th Legislature

2019 Regular Session


Representatives Griffey, MacEwen, Eslick, Irwin, and Dent

Read first time 01/17/19.

Referred to Committee on Environment & Energy

AN ACT Relating to the use of science pursuant to the growth management act; amending RCW 36.70A.172; and creating a new section.



Sec. 1. Science is innovative, constantly evolving, and provides for flexibility and improvement in public policy.

Often in creating growth management act comprehensive plans and development regulations, elected officials are presented

scientific information from multiple, conflicting sources with differing levels of credibility.

Officials must make policy choices about its use for their communities. Small counties, cities, and towns often do not have

the resources to obtain current, community-specific science evaluations. The legislature recognizes that a more flexible

statutory standard on use of science is more realistic for local authorities. Therefore, the legislature declares that local

authorities must consider science while creating critical area ordinances, yet reaffirms that ultimately elected officials have the authority to make decisions that differ from what the science and expert opinions in the public record may advocate.

The growth management hearings board may not overturn choices made by local elected officials to deviate from documents presented

as best available science, state agency recommendations based on science, or other materials claiming to present science or scientifically modeled information.

Sec. 2.

RCW 36.70A.172 and 2010 c 211 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:

(1)In designating and protecting critical areas under this chapter, counties and cities

((shall include the best available ))***(struck out)changed to  must consider available

science in developing policies and development regulations to protect the functions and values of

critical areas. In addition, counties and cities shall give special consideration to conservation

or protection measures necessary to preserve or enhance anadromous fisheries.

(2)If it determines that advice from scientific or other experts is necessary or will be of substantial

assistance in reaching its decision, the growth management hearings board may retain scientific

or other expert advice to assist in reviewing a petition under RCW 1536.70A.290 that involves critical areas.

Expert opinion on a topic indicating local authorities did not adopt policies consistent with scientific

information in the record or presented later before the board are not grounds for finding noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter.



One Comment Add yours

  1. cazz1226@aol.com says:

    Ack! Unfortunately, none of the offending reps are mine.

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