14 Mar Washington Self Storage Bill Caught in Budget Crossfire
By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
It looked like SB 6148—a bill concerning how to handle personal property in a self storage facility—in the state of Washington was a sure thing. The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and would’ve allowed storage operators in the state to tow any vehicle in the result of a lien rather than go through the auction process.
However, things have come to a halt. King 5 News reports that Governor Jay Inslee vetoed it and 26 other bills after state legislature failed to reach a supplemental budget deal during the short session.
The Washington Self Storage Association (WA-SSA), along with the Self Storage Association (SSA), has been lobbying for the bill. A law was passed last year, but it doesn’t recognize campers, trailers, or boats on trailers as part of the statute.
The WA-SSA and SSA want to fix that with SB 6148. Don Arsenault, Vice President of the WA-SSA and a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), says that allowing storage operators to tow a vehicle after a lien, rather than putting it up for auction, makes things a lot easier.
“The biggest problem with auctioning off vehicles deals with the title of vehicles and the transference of those titles,” says Arsenault. “It can be a complicated ordeal that owners of self storage facilities face in the self storage lien sale process.”
SB 6148 would have allowed a storage owner or operator to call a towing company to remove any vehicle after providing the required notices in compliance with a self storage lien sale. “The owner must then notify the tenant that the vehicle was towed and give the name and phone number of the towing company,” Arsenault continues.
However, after the bill’s momentum, Governor Inslee vetoed it. “Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar,” Inslee said during the special session. “I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget.”
Arsenault is frustrated. He says it was difficult to get the first version of the law passed last year due to quarrels between political parties. He’s up in arms now that SB 6148 has become a bargaining chip for Governor Inslee.
“Politics are taking a greater and greater toll on lawmaking,” says Arsenault. “We had a 100% vote for our bill. How does one overcome the stagnation in politics? Our bill compared to the problems in the state is a nothing bill. It’s fully inconsequential, which is why we got full support.”
A special session immediately followed the veto after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal following the 60-day short session. SB 6148’s sponsors are already working to override the veto. If they can’t, the WA-SSA and SSA will have to start the process all over again when a new session starts next year.