Political Beat

Annexation bill back with a new sponsor

State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, is backing a bill that would establish new voter approval requirements before the annexation of property by local taxing districts.

House Bill 2637‘s lead sponsor: Democratic Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver.

An odd alliance? Perhaps. But it’s no surprise that Benton would throw his support behind the bill. It’s a revised version of a bill Benton himself introduced last year.

But Stonier’s version, co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Brandon Vick and Paul Harris, both of Vancouver, appears tailor-made for Clark County. The bill applies in “counties that have 400,000 or more residents and are bordered by the Columbia River.”

Yep, that’s us.

Benton’s original bill sparked from a long-simmering conflict between the city of Battle Ground and residents of Brush Prairie. The two sides have clashed over the annexation of land near a handful of unincorporated neighborhoods.

“It’s not right for property owners to be swept into taxing district without agreement from a majority of the voters who would be affected,” Benton said in a released statement this week.

Benton testified in favor of the bill during a committee hearing on Thursday.

“Rep. Stonier has done a great job of working with the local communities involved to help improve this bill and move it through the legislative process in a bipartisan manner,” Benton said.

The bill remains in the House Committee on Local Government.

Eric Florip

I'm the environment/transportation reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. Contact me at eric.florip@columbian.com or 360-735-4541.

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