Bipartisanship Preserves Affordable Rental Housing

Posted By: Tim Hatley Advocacy, Government,

This past short 60-day legislative session highlighted our state lawmaker’s ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to protect small rental housing providers from the continued onslaught of new rental regulations that are driving many out of the market.

The epic battle this session over rent control best illustrates how members of both the Republican and Democrat can work together on significant policy issues.  It was because of a bipartisanship approach that rent control was defeated, along with a host of other rental regulations.

Democrat lawmakers hold the majority in each chamber, with 58 Democrat lawmakers in the House compared to 40 Republicans. In the Senate, there are 29 Democrats and 20 Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, (D-Spokane) was quoted in a recent Spokesman Review article, “No one has the market cornered on good ideas, so it only makes sense to try and work with the broadest coalition to pass a bill,” 

Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck, a Democrat, added that he credits a large amount of the bipartisan work to the Senate leadership creating a culture of collaboration, pointing out Billig and Minority Leader Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia.

“Small housing providers applaud and are grateful of the ability of members from both sides of the aisle to come together, collaborate, and agree on policy matters that are critical to our members,” said Rental Housing Association of Washington President Sean Flynn.  “Looking forward, I am confident this spirit of cooperation will continue after the upcoming campaign season and into next year’s legislative session.”

A recent report produced by the state senate details how both parties from the House and the Senate voted on each piece of legislation.  Here are some key findings.

•    91.3%, or 348 bills, garnered approval from at least 10% of the Republican body
•    81.8%, or 308 bills, secured support from over half of the Republican lawmakers
•    52.2%, or 199 bills, unanimously passed both chambers
•    4.2%, or 16 bills, passed only had Democratic support

Apparently, Democrats and Republicans can work together -- that should be acknowledged and held with high regard.

With over a dozen state lawmakers either retiring or running for other offices this year the next legislative session will have a different make-up.

“Rental housing is a non-partisan issue. Republicans and Democrats may be either tenant or a housing provider. Our goal is to work with elected officials from both parties on solutions to ensure a vibrant and sustainable affordable rental housing market across Washington State.”, commented Flynn.