PubliCola reports, adds interesting details:
The bill has been substantially modified from its original version, which would have allowed King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties to pass a $30 license fee by a majority vote of their county councils. The bill that passed today pared the charge down to $20, excludes Pierce and Snohomish Counties, and requires a supermajority two-thirds vote of the King County Council, or a vote of the people, to pass the fee. (That last amendment was tacked on by Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35), who ultimately voted for the bill.)
Aside from several rural legislators with unhelpful modifications and comments about a bill that only affects King County, interesting developments include Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina, Kirkland, Redmond, Crossroads) voting against the bill, and Transportation Chair Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) sounding very positive about it. As a matter of speculation, the latter might be because a short-term bill like this one doesn’t interfere with her rumored plan to bind roads and transit together into a ballot measure next year. Sen. Tom did not respond to a request for comment.
The bill still has to pass the House. I figured earlier that the $20 tab fee would just about avert Metro cuts for the next two years.
The supermajority requirement means that the Council would need at least one Republican vote (likely Jane Hague), but it could still pass with Seattle and inner suburban districts only. A strict party line vote means it would go to the ballot, incurring additional delay and expense. This might also affect the horse trading around Metro’s proposed policy guidelines.