LEGISLATION and POLITICS

SOME CLIMATE ACTION BILLS PASSED

2022-03-26  Move Ahead Washington plan takes a completely new approach to transportation in Washington state
(a press update from Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State)

“On Friday at events in Mukilteo and Tacoma, Gov. Jay Inslee signed several climate and clean energy jobs bills, including the historic new 16-year Move Ahead Washington transportation package.

“The governor was joined in Mukilteo by Tulalip Tribes Vice Chair-elect Misty Napeahi, Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar, Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Jake Fey, Sen. Joe Nguyen, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, Rep. Alex Ramel, and Rep. Davina Duerr.

“In Tacoma, Inslee was joined by Chairman of the Puyallup Tribe Bill Sterud, Pierce Transit CEO Mike Griffus, Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Jake Fey, and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon.

“The Move Ahead Washington transportation package is unlike any other in the state’s history. It lays the foundation for a massive shift from simply building more lanes to moving people via cleaner, more efficient transportation options.

“‘Transportation is our state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. There is no way to talk about climate change without talking about transportation,” Inslee said during the Friday morning signing event. “This package will move us away from the transportation system our grand-parents imagined and towards the transportation system our grand-children dream of.’

“The Move Ahead Washington package focuses an increased share of funding on maintenance and preservation of existing roads and bridges than prior packages, and includes major projects such as the replacement of the I-5 bridge across the Columbia River. But the clear distinction is how it directs a significant share of investments towards climate and clean transportation. These investments are possible thanks to revenue from the state’s cap-and-invest program that places a price on carbon pollution.

“The package includes funding for four new hybrid-electric ferries, tens of thousands of new EV charging stations, 25 transit electrification projects across the state, and free fares for passengers 18 and younger on all public transportation.

“The package also includes a significant infusion of funding for removing hundreds of fish passage barriers along state highways that block approximately 650 miles of habitat for salmon and steelhead. This work is important to meeting the state’s salmon recovery commitment to Tribes.

“Move Ahead Washington will support an estimated 2,390 construction and ferries jobs annually.

“Inslee also signed bills on Friday to reduce methane emissions from landfills, expand the state’s clean buildings policy, and improve the state’s ability to recruit clean energy projects with strong labor standards.”
⸺ source: Gov. Inslee Press Updates <press@updates.gov.wa.gov>, E-News Edition 114, 26 Mar. 2022.    For more details, see Governor Inslee’s Medium page, “Years in the making, one climate bill is allowing legislators to boldly reinvent transportation in Washington. Here’s how.” 25 Mar. 2022, https://medium.com/wagovernor/years-in-the-making-one-climate-bill-is-allowing-legislators-to-boldly-reinvent-transportation-in-18e075b82ed8

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2022-03-11 Clean Cars 2030 Passes in Washington State
“Washington State Legislature Sets 2030 Target for 100% EV Sales—the country’s most ambitious goal yet!”
     “Last night, the Washington legislature voted to set a target for ending the sales of gasoline-powered cars by 2030 – the most aggressive goal in the U.S. and five years ahead of California’s 2035 target.
     “The measure, passed as part of the $16.9 billion “Move Ahead Washington” transportation package, now heads to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for signature.”

⸺ source: 11 Mar. 2022 email announcement from Janelle London and Matthew Metz Co-Executive Directors of Coltura, the group that, as the message says, “spearheaded the campaign several years ago, and led the coalition to push for passage.”

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OLDER ENTRIES THAT I NEED TO UPDATE OR DELETE

ESHB 1770  Allows jurisdictions to set higher residential energy codes than the state allows. Vote Yes on ESHB 1770
(Some groups supporting this bill: Shift Zero, League of Women Voters of Washington)

Description: Per Shift Zero (shiftzero.org), “HB 1770 Energy Codes.pdf,” accessed 1 Mar. 2022.
“HB 1770:  Reaching Higher: Local Option for Energy Codes (companion bill SB 5669). Creates a local option for the adoption of stronger residential energy codes.
“Local jurisdictions in Washington state are currently restricted from passing residential energy codes that are stronger than the state code set every three years by the State Building Code Council (SBCC). Cities and counties in Washington state are looking to advance climate progress, and limiting their ability to decarbonize residential buildings is a significant roadblock to reducing emissions statewide and meeting local climate goals
“To address this problem, HB 1770 would require the SBCC to develop a residential reach code for energy use and efficiency in new single-family and small multifamily (3 stories or lower) buildings. A reach code is a local building energy code that “reaches” beyond the state minimum requirements for energy use in building design and construction. Any local jurisdiction would have the option to use the statewide code or adopt the stronger reach code, which creates an opportunity to reduce climate pollution, improve public health, and hasten the jurisdiction’s transition to a cleaner economy.
“HB 1770 averts any concern that homebuilders would have to learn different codes for different cities, as this legislation provides for just two statewide codes: the base code and the optional stronger reach code. Strong energy codes are the best way to move the market, signaling to manufacturers that demand will be consistent while driving technology innovation and cost reduction.
“All other provisions have been removed from this bill, including those on net zero energy.”
⸺ source: Shift Zero (shiftzero.org), “HB 1770 Energy Codes.pdf,” accessed 1 Mar. 2022.

My action: On 1 Mar. 2022, I sent the following comment to my Senator and Representatives via the https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1770 link, and I asked them to support ESHB 1770:
“The UN report published this week portrays a dismal future for us because of non-action. ESHB 1770 removes a block that prevents jurisdictions from doing more locally to fight climate change at a time when more is urgently needed. In action (this bill and other climate-action related bills) there is hope.”

Environment and Habitat Bills

SB 5885                      Shoreline Protection in Puget Sound     Vote No
(see the discussion below). Some groups opposing this bill: Audubon WA; opposition of this bill as it’s written is categorized as a top-priority by Audubon WA.

Description: “Requires a comprehensive assessment of Puget Sound shoreline conditions, identifying structures that are either unpermitted or have fallen into disrepair. It also requires replacement structures to meet the same (more environmentally protective) standards as new structures.
“This bill was amended in a problematic manner that would have prevented state and local agencies from using the comprehensive assessment in enforcement actions. Along with our partners we’ve asked legislators to kill this bill and shift to funding the assessment in the operating budget.”
     – source: https://wa.audubon.org/get-involved/bill-tracker-2022-legislative-session (accessed 2 Mar. 2022)

My action: On 2 Mar. 2022, I sent this message to my Senator and Representatives regarding E2SSB 5885:

Dear Senator and Representatives,

Audubon Washington informs me there are problems with this bill (see the Audubon WA synopsis below), so I ask you to oppose this bill as it’s written.
    Per Audubon WA at https://wa.audubon.org/get-involved/bill-tracker-2022-legislative-session (accessed 2 Mar. 2022): “This bill was amended in a problematic manner that would have prevented state and local agencies from using the comprehensive assessment in enforcement actions. Along with our partners we’ve asked legislators to kill this bill and shift to funding the assessment in the operating budget.”

Growth Management Act Bills

HB 1099 Putting Climate Change considerations into the GMA
(see Climate Action Bills)

Senate Bill 5042           Close the GMA Sprawl Loophole                 Vote YES
(Recommending YES votes on SB 5042: WA Conservation Voters, WA Environmental Council, League of Women Voters WA, Futurewise, 350 WA, Evergreen Future, and Earth Ministry. For Audubon WA, SB 5042 is in the “Other Legislation We’re Tracking” category, as of 2 Mar. 2022)

What: “The current sprawl loophole undermines the intent of the Growth Management Act (GMA) by allowing counties to subvert the Growth Management Hearing Board (GMHB) appeals process to illegally build sprawling developments that devours farmlands, forests, and critical habitats. The loophole locks in outdated rules, and puts a financial strain on jurisdictions to provide adequate infrastructure, facilities, and services to new developments.”
     ⸺ source: Washington Environmental Council https://wecprotects.org/news/announcing-our-2022-legislative-priorities/ (accessed 27 Jan. 2022)

Voting Process Bills

HB 1876 Public Investment Impact Disclosure
My action: On 1 Mar. 2022 I encouraged my Senator to vote Yes on HB 1876, “Public Investment Impact Disclosure’”

Description: Per the League of Women Voters of Washington Legislative Newsletter, 27 Feb. 2022:
“Pass Better Ballot Disclosure! “HB 1876 ‘Public Investment Impact Disclosure’ needs your action. This bill would require a description of the investments that will be affected if a ballot initiative or referendum is adopted.  Better information will help voters make more informed decisions that impact themselves, their families, and their communities. Please encourage your Senator to vote yes on HB 1876.”

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Other Bills

HB 2078         Outdoor School for All               Vote: YES
(HB 2078 is categorized as a top-priority agenda item for Audubon WA)

Description: “Creates a new Outdoor Education Experiences grant program in the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to support outdoor learning opportunities for fifth and sixth grade students in Washington public schools.
     “This bill is scheduled for an executive session (vote) in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Monday, February 28th.
     “Tell your Senator to vote YES on HB 2078.”

⸺ source: https://wa.audubon.org/get-involved/bill-tracker-2022-legislative-session (accessed 2 Mar. 2022)

My Action: On 14 Feb. 2022 I asked my representatives to vote YES on HB 2078.

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Bills I’m considering supporting but which I have to do more research on:

Clean Tech Tax Deferrals
     (Some of the groups supporting this bill are WA State Labor Council, 350 WA)

HB 1799   Organic Materials Management
     (Some of the groups supporting this bill are Zero Waste Washington, 350 WA)

HB 1117 Net Ecological Gain
     (Some of the groups supporting this bill are Evergreen Future)

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My Older Actions

SB 5182 Repeal Advisory Votes
Please support a floor vote for SB 5182 and then please vote YES.
For further information, see League of Women Voters of Washington, lwvwa@lwvwa.org > Advocacy > Take Action

(This is the email letter that I sent to my senator today.)

Dear Senator Van De Wege,

Please support SB 5182 (Repeal Advisory Votes) coming to the Senate floor for a floor vote, and then would you please vote YES to repeal advisory votes.

I am so glad there’s finally a move to eliminate advisory votes from the ballot. I love Washington State’s election process (it’s fair, informed, secure, and convenient, and it really is a model for the nation), but the flaw in our process is the “advisory votes.” They are misinformation pieces that use biased language and which omit pro and con discussion.

What is somebody’s propaganda doing on our ballot? The only way I sort through this confusing morass of advisory votes is to see how the elected representatives that I trust voted on these issues—and then I vote the same way. Eliminating the misnamed advisory votes (really, they are someone’s propaganda) from our ballots would save money and make our election process even better.

Thank you for your representation and work during this busy legislative session.

Michael Maddox
24th District
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Miscellaneous–that I’ve not yet organized on this page:


House Bill 2027 Task force to look into restructuring WDFW
(See the description under SB 5721 Subsuming WDFW and the Parks Dept into DNR)
Vote NO

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SB 5619 / HB 1661  Protecting Washington’s Eelgrass and Kelp
Vote: This bill is in Audubon WA’s “being tracked” category.

What: “Calls for a collaborative plan to conserve and restore 10,000 acres of kelp and eelgrass beds by 2040.” (per Audubon WA, accessed 14 Feb. 2022)

Status (per Audubon WA, accessed 14 Feb. 2022): The Senate version of this bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Saturday, February 5th. The House version did not pass out of the House Committee on Appropriations but the Senate version is still moving.
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Senate Bill 5721          Subsumes the WDFW and the Parks Dept. into DNR
(related bill: House Bill 2027)
     Vote NO

What: Subsumes both the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and the Parks Dept. into the Dept. of Natural Resources.
     ⸺ source: blog post by Al Bergstein, “Fight WA Senate Bills 5721 & HB 2027 now! Bad for the Environment!” Olympic Peninsula Environmental News, 23 Jan. 2022, https://olyopen.com/2022/01/23/fight-senate-bill-5721-now-bad-for-the-environment/
     In his post, Bergstein asks, ““How did this bill get put out into the legislature?” and “Who actually is behind getting these bills to rural Democratic legislators?” and “Why has there been zero coverage on an issue of this magnitude in the Olympia and Seattle press?” He adds that though the house bill is not the same as the senate bill (in that the house bill only proposes a task force to look at restructuring WDFW), he’s worried the house bill will open the door to compromising actions.
      Bergstein notes that someone voicing strong opposition to this restructuring proposal is the Olympic Forest Coalition board president, and he notes that the Washington Environmental Council will be adding this to their “Hot List” this week.
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Please go to https://zerowastewashington.org/legislative-work/ > Connect > Take Action > Legislation Currently Being Considered (accessed 14 Feb. 2022)

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Dead Bills

HB 1631 Technical Support for Sustainable Farms and Fields
Status: “This bill did not meet the February 7th cutoff deadline to pass out of the House Appropriations Committee and will not be moving forward this session.” (per Audubon WA, accessed 14 Feb. 2022)

HB 1672         Conservation Futures Levy Lid Lift
Status: “This bill won’t be moving forward this session.” (per Audubon WA, accessed 14 Feb. 2022)

HB 1838 / SB 5727    Lorraine Loomis Act
Status (per Audubon WA, last accessed 14 Feb. 2022): “This bill won’t be moving forward this session, but proponents are exploring opportunities to advance elements of the bill through other policy and budget vehicles.”

SB 5697/HB 2003      RENEW ACT (this bill would have reduced waste)
What: “This legislation, an Environmental Priorities Coalition priority, addresses plastic waste by funding improvements in waste infrastructure, uniform access for residents across the state, and a clear list of what people can recycle. This bill will have the added benefit of shifting recycling costs away from ratepayers and onto the manufacturers.”
⸺ source: Audubon WA, accessed 14 Feb. 2022

Status (per Audubon WA, accessed 14 Feb. 2022): “This bill did not pass out of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and will not be moving forward this session.”

Summary from Zero Waste Washington (this was its #1 priority bill) as written in its “bills that, sadly, didn’t make it this year” section:
     “The RENEW Act bill (SB 5697)  / HB 2003 – Renewing Washington’s recycling system and reducing waste): This was our #1 priority bill. Championed by Senator Mona Das and Representative Brandy Donaghy, and includes product stewardship for packaging and printed paper, including recycling and reuse targets, accurate labeling provisions and requirements for post-consumer recycled content in plastic tubs, thermoform containers (e.g., clamshells), and single-use cups.  This bill implements the top recommendations in Ecology’s Plastics Study (October 2020) which was required by Senator Rolfes’ SB5397 in 2019 to address our recycling crisis and the increasing amount of plastic pollution.”
⸺ source: Zero Waste Washington   (accessed 14 Feb. 2022)

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ZERO WASTE WASHINGTON’S 2022 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

2021-12-31 Zero Waste-related legislative bills being proposed, so far
⸺ The following is pasted from  https://zerowastewashington.org/newsletters/4th-quarter-december-2021-enewsletter/ (accessed 31 Dec. 2021). Bolding is mine (MRM).

Zero Waste Washington has been working with terrific partners, highly engaged stakeholders, and wonderful environmental legislative champions to develop policy for the the following bills:

The RENEW Act bill, to modernize our recycling system and reduce waste, is being championed by Senator Mona Das and Representative Liz Berry. It sets strong targets and adds a producer responsibility program for packaging and printed products,. This bill builds on the momentum of similar bills passed recently in Maine and Oregon.

Policy to decrease methane gas at our landfills is being led by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon and Senator Mona Das. In 2022, the goal is to take steps to divert more organic material (food waste and yard debris) to compost and anaerobic digestion facilities and move excess food to hungry people. Another bill, led by Representative Davina Duerr, will increase the effectiveness of landfill gas extraction. Zero Waste Washington’s recent report, Improving Organic Materials Management, covers many of these policies.

We need to make it easier and cheaper to repair electronic items (i.e., items with a screen). A groundbreaking Right to Repair bill, championed by Representative Mia Gregerson, is in the works. This has extra momentum due to the recent announcements by Microsoft and Apple that they will make it easier for people to repair their devices.

Addressing safety and ease of recycling of batteries through a product stewardship bill is being led by Representative Kirsten Harris-Talley. Lithium ion batteries are a major concern because they can cause fires at our recycling facilities and elsewhere. We need to make it easy for people to recycle batteries safely through a take-back program rather than putting batteries in our home garbage or recycling bins.

More details to come, as we get closer to session. We will update our legislative work webpage as bills get officially introduced.

Thank you all for your help in moving important zero waste bills forward. If you have any questions, please contact Heather at heather@zerowastewashington.org.

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Note: Washington Conservation Voters (WCV) recommends Washington State candidates for each election cycle who have strong environmental records. WCV endorsements can be found at https://wcvoters.org/endorsements/.
(WCV does not make endorsements for candidates for federal office.)

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LOOKING BACK: Some LEGISLATIVE SUCCESSES IN 2021

CLIMATE ACTION ACCOMPLISHED   (i.e., climate-action leadership by example.)

– Climate Commitment Act passed.
– Clean Fuel Standard passed.
– Wildfire funding approved.

Washington State governor Jay Inslee summarized key accomplishments by the 2021 legislature with regards to climate action in a 2 July 2021 letter:

“We made historic progress in the fight to end the climate crisis. We passed the Climate Commitment Act to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our economy and invest in programs that expand clean transportation and improve air quality” and “We passed a clean fuel standard, which promotes the use of electric vehicles and lower-carbon fuels, leading to reduced carbon emission and new, local jobs in clean energy.”
⸺source: Jay Inslee, letter, 2 July 2021; letter distributed by the group Jay Inslee for Washington.

“Together, the Climate Commitment Act and the clean fuel standard will accelerate Washington state’s lead in tackling the climate crisis—and providing a roadmap for other states to improve public health and grow their economies.”
⸺source: Jay Inslee, letter, 2 July 2021; letter distributed by the group Jay Inslee for Washington.

“The work we do now [for 2022] will be as significant as last year’s [in 2021] historic session, when we passed a Clean Fuels Standard, the HEAL Act, Climate Commitment Act, wildfire funding and more.”
⸺ source: Washington Environmental Council webpage (https://wecprotects.org/) > “Announcing our 2022 legislative priorities” (accessed 30 Dec. 2021)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

– HEAL Act passed.
Washington Environmental Justice Advisory Committee formed.

“It [the Washington State legislature] also enacted one of the strongest environmental justice policies in the nation creating a standing environmental justice advisory committee that gives members of frontline communities a voice in policy design and investment decision.”
     ⸺source: Jay Inslee, letter, 2 July 2021; letter distributed by the group Jay Inslee for Washington

FOOD AND WATER SAFETY

– Food safety advanced.
    
“Earlier this year, over 130 people of faith asked the Department of Ecology to speed up the phase out of toxic PFAS chemicals in food packaging. . . . Now the second assessment of safe food packing without PFAS will be published by the end of 2021 instead of mid-2022. This action was a follow-up to the Healthy Food Packaging Act that Earth Ministry/WAIPL helped pass in 2018” (5).
    
⸺ source: EARTH letter, fall-winter 2021, the quarterly newsletter of Earth Ministry/WAIPL, https://earthministry.org/fall-winter-2021-earth-letter/

– Drinking-Water standards improved.
    
“Later this summer, the Earth Ministry/WAIPL community also submitted comments to the Washington Department of Health asking for strong protections from PFAS in drinking water. On October 13, the WA Board of Health approved drinking water standards for five separate types of PFAS. Large water systems are now required to test for these toxic chemicals, which will make a real difference in lowering community exposure” (5).
     ⸺ source: EARTH letter, fall-winter 2021, the quarterly newsletter of Earth Ministry/WAIPL, https://earthministry.org/fall-winter-2021-earth-letter/

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