Policy Update: Oregon & Washington

March 21, 2018

By: Jeanette Shaw, Director of Government Relations

Washington’s 2018 Short Session Concludes without the Sales and Use Tax Exemption Extension

The 2018 session of the 65th Washington State Legislature adjourned on March 8 with the passage of the 2017-2019 supplemental operating and capital budgets. The conclusion marked the first time in several years the Legislature concluded within its constitutionally prescribed deadline, with no special session expected. The session was short, intensely rigorous, and included continuous issues such as a water-rights bill and how best to allocate multimodal and general funds despite higher-than-expected tax collections.

 Alternative/Electric Vehicles

Forth's primary objective was to extend the tax exemption for new and used electric vehicles. Despite the hard work by Forth and our partners (including the WA EV Legislative Caucus, General Motors, Tesla, Plug-In America) and strong bi-partisan support, House Bill (HB) 2653 did not pass. H.B. 2653 would have made it more affordable to own alternative fuel and electric vehicles by extending the alternative fuel vehicle retail tax exemption through June 30, 2021 and remove the 7,500 qualifying vehicles cap. Unfortunately, several things worked against the bill, the short session, the political ill-will between the Governor and the Legislature as the Governor vetoed the Public Records Bill, and the massive and bifurcated environmentalist agenda which included Low Carbon Fuels Standards, 100% Clean, and the Carbon Tax. etc. Forth and other stakeholders are laying the groundwork now for the 2019 session and developing legislation that will make it more affordable for low- to middle-income individuals to purchase or lease an alternative fuel/electric vehicle. 

Please contact Jeanette Shaw for more information and if you would like to assist in this effort.

Oregon’s 2018 Short Session Also Concludes on Time

The Legislative Assembly adjourned on Saturday, March 3, 2018, after a twenty-seven day sprint. The session focused on technical fixes to the 2017 $5.3B Transportation Package, climate change, access to guns, and a whole host of other issues. As you may recall, the Transportation Package included an electric vehicle point of purchase rebate and additional charge ahead point of purchase rebate for low-to-middle income individuals.

Upon passage of the $5.3B Transportation Package late last year, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) convened the Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) which included Forth’s Executive Director, Jeff Allen. The RAC proposed the elimination of the Charge Ahead Rebate requirements to scrap an older vehicle and to limit rebates to areas with poor air quality.  The Legislature accepted the RAC’s proposal and eliminated the requirements from the Charge Ahead Rebate Program within the technical fix bill, HB 4060. The session also saw the passage of many noncontroversial bills, such as House Bill (HB) 4022, which eliminates the statutory cap on the number of allowed EV charging stations installed at state agencies.

 Forth provided comments to the Department of Environmental Quality’s Electric Vehicle Rebate 2018 proposed rulemaking further supporting the removal of the scraping requirements and geographical requirements upon low-income individuals.

Olympia Ride and Drive

Undeterred by snowy, chilly conditions in early March, Forth headed to Olympia for our first Ride and Drive event in the state capital. In Olympia partnership with the Legislative EV Caucus, Washington Department of Transportation, Washington Department of Enterprise Service, the Washington Department of Commerce, and the Western Washington Clean Cities, Forth hosted a ride and drive last month in Olympia at the State Capitol. Ride and Drive attendees included legislators, legislative staff, fleet managers, regulatory agencies, and many non-profits who braved the cold weather. Representative Orcutt welcomed participants including EV Caucus Co-Chair’s Representative’s Muri and Fey. In addition, Governor Inslee stopped by the Forth booth and stated he was pleased to see so many cars available for test drives. The Governor’s Executive Policy Advisor Charles Knutson, also joined the ride and drive and test drove at least 3 vehicles.

In recognition of National Muffin Day, participants enjoyed mini muffins and hot coffee. Cars available for test drives included the Chevy Bolt, Chevy Volt, Tesla 3, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Chrysler Pacifica and GEM e2. In addition, electric scooters and two electric buses were on display. The goal of the ride and drive was to raise awareness of HB 2653, raise awareness of the many electric vehicles available, the opportunity to take an electric or plug-in hybrid car for a test drive and to highlight other forms of electric mobility such as the electric scooters and buses.

Policy Update: Oregon & Washington
Washington’s 2018 Short Session Concludes without the Sales and Use Tax Exemption Extension The 2018 session of the 65th Washington State Legislature adjourned on March 8 with the passage of the 20...