MacEwen bill authorizing counties to support local housing authorities signed into law

A bill sponsored by Rep. Drew MacEwen to affirm that counties have a legal right to provide support to local housing authorities was signed into law by the governor Tuesday.

During public testimony, MacEwen, R-Union said he introduced House Bill 2261 after learning from former state Rep. Kathy Haigh — now chair of the Mason County Housing Authority — that there was some confusion surrounding the law. He said prosecutors in multiple counties had informed county commissioners of their belief that any assistance provided by them to local housing authorities could be construed as an illegal gift of public funds.

MacEwen says his bill will remove any ambiguity once and for all.

“This bill makes it clear that county commissions, and all other state public bodies, can legally assist local housing authorities,” said MacEwen. “It's important for there to be clarity on this because there is so much good work counties and housing authorities can collaborate on to serve local residents. I'm grateful to Kathy for bringing this issue to my attention, and for the strong bipartisan support House Bill 2261 received in both chambers.”

A “state public body” includes the state and any city, town, county, municipal corporation, commission, district, authority, or other subdivision or public body within the state.

Under MacEwen's bill, state public bodies may provide monetary, in-kind, or other support to the board of commissioners of a housing authority to carry out its duties or powers, but not for the purpose of compensating the commissioners for their service.

Bills go into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the regular legislative session. The 2018 legislative session adjourned March 8.


Washington State House Republican Communications