The House followed the Senate tonight in passing a bill giving the state insurance commissioner authority that could allow him to create an insurance pool for businesses in the Green River Valley that need flood insurance.
If the system were created, insurance policyholders all over the state could be on the hook if the valley floods.
Rep. Tina Orwall said businesses that employ 86,000 people in the area are threatened by not knowing what might happen over the coming years, as federal engineers fix the leaking abutment that has left a chink in the armor of the Howard Hanson Dam.
“How do these businesses continue in this tough economic time when they have so much uncertainty?” she said.
House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt said it’s an example of the state helping King County while overlooking rural areas “almost like they’re expendable.”
The House passed the bill 66-30 shortly before 10 p.m. in their last action of the day. First, they overhauled it with an amendment passed by Rep. Steve Kirby.
He said the amendment would make it more like the version passed by the Senate that has a $250 million cap on policies issued by the pool, including $5 million for any one policy. Kirby said the changes would make Gov. Chris Gregoire more likely to sign the bill.