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Angel already had bills filed when session started

Even though the state’s legislative session wasn’t scheduled to begin until Jan. 10, 26th District Rep. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard), got a jump on the process by pre-filing bills up to a week ahead of time while meeting with local groups to determine their needs.

“I plan to work with local government to figure out how to use our tax dollars efficiently and get our people back to work,” she said.

Angel has, so far, sponsored two pre-filed bills and signed on as a secondary sponsor for nine others.

And she’s has worked with local government on both of the bills for which she’s the prime sponsor.

The city of Port Orchard inspired her to write one, and she worked with lobbyists from the Association of Washington Cities to refine the other.

The Port Orchard-inspired bill, HB 1012, would allow city councilmembers to determine through legislative action whether planning commission terms should last for four or six years.

That could chop the term limit for a city planning commissioner down to the length of the longest term limit for a city councilman and the mayor.

Port Orchard’s mayor and six of the city council members serve four-year terms, while the seventh city council member, considered “at-large,” serves a two-year term.

“If, for whatever reason, a mayor serves only one term, he or she could have numerous planning commissioners whose terms don’t expire during their term in office,” said a source familiar with the subject who wanted to remain anonymous. “If they are appointed by the previous mayor during the last two years of that administration, the planning commissioners are there when the new mayor takes office and they are still there when he or she leaves office.

“This,” the source said, “can have a negative impact on a mayor and/or city council in moving their agenda for their city forward if the political and/or growth management philosophies of the electeds and the planning commissioners are significantly different.”

Angel worked with county-level planners as a Kitsap County commissioner from 2000 until 2008, when she moved to the House of Representatives.

And at the county level, planning commissioners’ terms last for four years.

“I’m thinking in practical terms,” said Rep. Susan Fagan (R-Pullman), who signed onto both of Angel’s bills.

“Four years seems to be appropriate,” she said. “Six years is a long time to be on a commission.”

No Port Orchard Planning Commission members returned requests for comment.

Local elected officials received HB 1012 much more quickly than the other pre-filed bill for which Angel is a prime sponsor.

The Association of Washington Cities and several other lobbying groups representing local government opposed early versions of House Bill 1013, requiring each city, county and town to notify property owners when planning to change zoning requirements.

In addition to her two pre-filed bills, Angel said she has two major overarching goals for the upcoming legislative session — to provide “relief and flexability for local governments” and to “defend and strengthen local business.”

Both ideals, she said, will help the state into a better economic future.

Angel compared business with an endangered species that needs special government protection to flourish in the future.

“Our local businesses are afraid to expand because of the uncertainty of what’s ahead of us,” she said. “We need to strengthen those businesses and provide security so that they can prosper and retain jobs.”

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