Seventh District Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy) is tackling what she believes are limitations to Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA) during this year's legislative sessions in Olympia.

The GMA is the comprehensive land use planning framework for counties and cities in the state that establishes land use designation and environmental protection requirements for all of Washington's counties and cities.

Short has introduced a pair of bills aimed at curbing the GMA's influence over the state's local jurisdictions by providing them with more leeway for unforeseeable changes and increasing their ability to expand critical services.

"The problem is that the Growth Management Act has become very regulatory because of endless appeals and litigation," says Short. "So my bills essentially try to give flexibility for counties when their growth happens in a different area than was originally projected ten or twenty years ago."

Senate Bill 5834 (SB 5834) would allow counties to make changes to their comprehensive plans for urban growth, while Senate Bill 6140 (SB 6140) offers more latitude for the development of retail and food service in rural areas.

Short says that while both pieces of her legislation are fairly straightforward and have each received bipartisan support, getting them passed through the Legislature's two chambers won't be an easy task.

"Everybody says, 'oh, that's such a simple bill', but I know that in this place (Legislature) there is nothing simple. You have to deal with stakeholders and their interested positions, and then you have the one-hundred-forty-seven members of the Legislature, and the governor. So very often, things that seem simplistic don't often end up being that way."

SB 6140 is currently awaiting a second reading in the Senate Rules Committee, while SB 5834 already received a second reading by the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

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