Filtered by category: Legislative Clear Filter

Empowering Communities: New Bill to Fund Local Special Districts

This vital legislation makes it possible for special districts in local communities to access essential funding for water, parks, infrastructure, fire, and other vital community services.

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2024 Washington State Elections Update

The 2024 election in Washington state will be the most significant election year in more than a decade. At the top of the state ballot, we’ll have four open seats for statewide office (meaning an incumbent won’t seek reelection), including an open seat Governor’s race for the first time in 12 years. We will also have open seat races for the Attorney General, Commissioner of Public Lands, and Insurance Commissioner seats. On top of that, several lawmakers are retiring from office (including two congressional retirements), which all contribute to an eventful election season that will result in new political leadership and a drastically different legislature in 2025.
As a refresher, the state contains 49 legislative districts represented by one state Senator and two state Representatives each (49 Senators and 98 Representatives). State Representatives must run for election every two years, while state Senators seek election every four years. The current makeup of the legislature is:

  • House: 58 Democrats | 40 Republicans
  • Senate: 29 Democrats | 20 Republicans

It’s important to note that Washington state utilizes a top two primary, meaning that the two candidates receiving the most votes will advance through the primary election to the general election, regardless of party preference. It is not uncommon in some legislative districts to have two candidates from the same party running against each other for a seat.

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2024 Election Results

Welcoming New WRPA Board Members

Each year, we welcome new members to the WRPA Board of Directors at the Annual Conference & Tradeshow. The Board of Directors is the governing body of our association and is responsible for the supervision, control, and direction of WRPA. These Board members are elected by you, the members, during an annual election.

The following WRPA members have been elected to join the board:

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Grant Application Deadline is Fast Approaching

Applications for Recreation and Conservation Funding Board grants are due on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. If you have started an application, or are thinking of applying, for a grant for your recreation or conservation project – there’s not much time left.

During this first grant round, the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is accepting grant proposals for the following programs:

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House Environment & Energy: Agenda Update

We’re back at it with legislative session as the legislature officially convened Monday the 8th for a 60-day session. They’re hitting the ground running with public hearings on relevant bills. As you’ll see highlighted below, HB 2051 has been scheduled for a hearing on January 11 which relates to small off-road engines (like maintenance and landscaping equipment).

See bill language here:

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Coalition To Update the Outdated Property Tax Cap

A broad coalition of leaders has come together to ask the Legislature to take this long overdue action in 2024 to revise the arbitrary 1% property tax cap that has been in place for more than a generation.

We ask for an update to the cap tying it to inflation and population growth factors with a new cap not to exceed 3%.

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Life Floor - 4th Annual Make a Splash Grant Contest!

Through the Make a SPLASH! Grant Contest, Life Floor and Inside Edge Safety Surfaces are offering two grants this year for two splash pads at cities or non-profit organizations to receive an all-expenses-paid Life Floor safety surface + installation (valued at approximately $50-65k for a 2000 sq ft area). This is our 4th annual event offering grants to communities in need and I would love to extend the invitation to your eligible members to apply for these grants. Applications close on November 17th at 11:59PM CT.

The Grants are as follows:

  • The Need-Based Grant will be awarded to a splash pad at a city or non-profit facility with demonstrated financial need. The location of the splash pad must have a median household income below the state median and the Parks + Recreation 5-year average capital projects budget per capita must be below $50.
  • The Inclusive Design Grant will be awarded to a splash pad at a city or non-profit facility that has demonstrated a commitment to inclusivity or accessibility.
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$1.5 Billion Available through the 2023 RAISE Grant Program, Now Accepting Applications!

$1.5 Billion Available through the 2023 RAISE Grant Program, Now Accepting Applications!


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Our New Lobbyist Trevor Justin 

We are excited to welcome our new lobbyist, Trevor Justin! Trevor is thrilled to begin legislative representation for the WRPA. With his love for the
outdoors and staying active, working with WRPA is a natural fit for him. He is looking forward to positively impacting parks and recreation agencies statewide so that others can enjoy the outdoors as much as he does.

Trevor is a strategic government affair professional with a proven record of navigating the complex legislative environment with integrity and success. He is a pragmatic thinker with political savvy and helps deliver client objectives through budget and public policy processes.

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RCO and COAFF Updates

Good Friday Morning to WRPA Executive Board & Exec. Director; LEG Chair & LEG Committee Members; and full LEG Distribution List: With apologies if you’ve seen any of this – I’m catching up with week from several badly-needed post-2022 Session vacation days, and wanted to ensure you all have a few pieces of information and a link to a survey you may wish to complete. In order:

WA State Recreation & Conservation Plan Survey – RCO is updating this plan and as part and parcel of the update, an Eastern Washington University faculty member (Jeremy Jostad) is conducting a survey where people can indicate their usage of outdoor recreation facilities and spaces over the last 12 months.  In the event you wish to participate, the survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and has 75 questions and you can access it here:

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Plan Survey (

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Public Survey: Outdoor Recreation Participation

Seeking Public Input!


Please help: take the survey, share the survey.

Hello Recreation and Conservation Partner Organization, 

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State Task Force Recommends Increased Sharing of School and Community Athletic Facilities

News Release from the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office

For Release: February 8, 2022
Contact: Susan Zemek
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Cell:  360-764-9349

OLYMPIA–A statewide task force commissioned by the Washington State Legislature is recommending increased sharing of school and community athletic facilities as a way to increase physical activity for youth, especially those underserved.

Kids in Washington are not moving nearly enough, the task force noted in its new report. Before the pandemic, only about 24 percent of youth in sixth through twelfth grades were getting an hour of physical activity daily, the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to maintain physical and mental fitness. That percentage has remained about the same since 2012 and is slightly below the national average of 28 percent. The problem is worse for youth of color, girls, those from lower income families, immigrant youth and those with physical disabilities and long-term health problems.

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Legislative Day 2022

By Sylvana Niehuser

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2022 Supplemental Operating, Capital, and Transportation Budgets

2022 Supplemental Operating, Capital, and Transportation Budgets

Learn More About Governor Inslee's E-Memo

On Thursday, December 16, 2021, Governor Inslee released his 2022 Supplemental Operating, Capital, and Transportation budgets with a strong emphasis on investments to address climate change, housing and homelessness and poverty, salmon recovery, and transportation needs.

Building on a two-year budget of roughly $59 billion, the Governor’s supplemental Operating Budget would use the state’s robust revenues, federal infrastructure, and coronavirus relief monies, and some transfers to invest $61.79 billion. Inslee touted the additional investments as critical to addressing glaring needs while minority Republicans criticized the Governor for not looking for ways to provide funds back to taxpayers, businesses, etc. The Governor’s budget does not include new taxes and would put an additional $600 million – what his office calls the largest rainy-day fund deposit ever -- into the state’s “Budget Stabilization Account” (more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund) in addition to $574 million already in the BSA under the enacted-two year budget.

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Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) Recruitment

Join Our Advisory Council

Support the mission of DNR's Urban & Community Forestry Program

The Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) is a statewide advisory council comprised of volunteer members representing diverse perspectives on urban forestry in Washington state. Their purpose is to help support the mission of DNR’s Urban & Community Forestry Program* and advise the Commissioner of Public Lands and DNR on statewide issues pertaining to urban and community forestry.

The council is currently recruiting for three positions that need to be filled by early 2022. In general, the council is seeking applicants who can represent the following interests:

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Take Our Survey: RCO Acquisition-Development Funds

RCO Acquisition-Development Funds

RCW 79A.15.050

RCO’s Outdoor Recreation Account is distributed according to RCW 79A.15.050.  We want to assess if there is interest by the WRPA membership to recommend changes to these allocations.  

Take the Survey

Outdoor recreation account—Distribution and use of moneys.

(2) Moneys appropriated beginning July 1, 2016, for this chapter to the outdoor recreation account shall be distributed in the following way:

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New! Discover Pass Free Days 2022

Discover Pass free days honor Indigenous people, Black history, mental health

A News Release from Washington State Parks

OLYMPIA – Nov. 10, 2021 – Washington State Parks has designated the free days in 2022 when visitors will not need a Discover Pass to park at state parks and on recreation lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

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RCO Needs Your Feedback About Recreation

RCO Needs Your Feedback About Recreation

Where Do You Recreate, What Gaps Are There, and Where Should State Money Be Invested?

A message from the Recreation and Conservation Office

You probably have heard that the state is looking for public comments about where they like to recreate, what gaps there are, and where they think the state should invest money in recreation. Below are links to the news release and social media about how we are collecting data / what it will be used for. Be sure to also take the survey.

Take the Survey

WA State Parks: Equity & Inclusion in WA Outdoor Spaces

Washington has an abundance of natural beauty and a rich tradition of outdoor recreation. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent social and political unrest across the nation have simultaneously shined a spotlight on the high-value people place on outdoor spaces and the inequities that exist within them. 

A recent national survey found that 70% of city-dwelling Americans agree that parks are critical to preserving an individual’s physical and mental health amid today’s challenges. Yet, as the demographics of our state change, historically and currently marginalized communities still do not have the same opportunities as their non-marginalized counterparts across nearly every measure including education, poverty, employment, health and more. Inequities based on race, ethnicity, gender and other characteristics continue to be deep, pervasive and persistent; coming at a great economic and social cost. 

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2021 Legislative Webinar Series Recordings Now Available

Watch the Recordings Now

In 2021 offered several educational legislative webinars to help members and supporters better understand some of WRPA's 2021 legislative priorities. These webinars were free and recordings of these events are now available for you to view.

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