OLYMPIA—A measure aimed at leveling the playing field for all port races in the state passed the House of Representatives earlier today on a unanimous vote.
“It’s about fairness, transparency and accountability,” said Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, who sponsored House Bill 2647 in response to a local port commissioner race that amassed more than $650,000 in campaign contributions from just two organizations. “This legislation makes sure that our port districts follow the same laws as everybody else. Like the Legislature, ports are public entities, accountable to the public, so we need to ensure that port districts are responding to constituents and not special interest groups.”
Current state law limits campaign contributions from individual donors, businesses, and other organizations for port races that have over 200,000 registered voters in the district. Only the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma meet that threshold. The bill will impose those same limits – currently $2,000 per election cycle – to all port commissioner races in Washington state by removing the 200,000 voter threshold condition.
“Several of us from both sides of the aisle, who live and work in Clark County, got behind this legislation because we believe in transparency in elections,” said Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, one of the bill’s cosponsors. “Our state leads the nation in this area, and we believe when our community members look at a race on the ballot, they would like to know who is really weighing in.”
House Bill 2647 now heads to the Senate for its consideration.