Morning update: Session Day 57

Staff writerMarch 10, 2014 

The Washington state Legislative Building shown in a June 2013 file photo.

STEVE BLOOM — The Olympian

A new plan to pay for housing for the homeless is on the fast track Monday morning.

A proposed extension of a $40 fee on real-estate documents that funds low-income housing was bottled up in the Senate housing committee, but legislative leaders signaled Friday it would get renewed attention in the legislative session's final week.

The latest development is the new bill that would extend by one year the fee that partially expires July 1, 2015. The reprieve would provide some assurances for counties that receive 60 percent of the proceeds but falls short of the permanent extension sought by housing advocates.

The plan also reshapes the program to direct more money to private landlords in the form of rental vouchers. Of the 38 percent of the revenue that goes to the state Department of Commerce, 45 percent would be designated for vouchers, and the state auditor would be given oversight to make sure that happens.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to take testimony on the proposal and vote on it at the committee's 10 a.m. meeting. It's grafted onto a title-only bill sponsored by Republican Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill.

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