CLIMATE CHANGE

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put a price on carbon, and enact measures to promote climate resiliency.

Issue Team Chair: Phyllis Farrell – phyllisfarrell681 [at] hotmail.com (360) 789-8307
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2019 Legislative Session Recap

The League believes that global climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our nation and planet today. Climate change is having a significant effect on Washington State's natural and economic landscape. Addressing climate change impacts will require a sustained commitment to integrating climate information into legislation and government programs and services.

We are celebrating the unprecedented legislative session that addressed significant Climate bills, and expect to see those bills which did not pass this session reintroduced next session.

    Bills the League Supported That Passed
    • SHB 1112 Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons. Passed the House, 55-39, 4 excused. Passed the Senate 35-13 with amendments. Delivered to Governor for signature.
    • SHB 1114 Reduces Food Waste Causing Hunger and Environmental Impacts. Passed the House, 96-0. Passed the Senate 45-0. Delivered to Governor for signature. 
    • E2SSB 5116 Supporting Washington's Clean Energy Economy by transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future. Passed the Senate 28-19, excused 2. Delivered to Governor for signature. 
    Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass
    • SHB 1110 Reduces greenhouse gas emissions with transportation fuels. 
    • HB 1113 Aligns Washington State's greenhouse gas reduction goals with the 2015 Paris Agreement and current climate change science assessments. 
    • HB 1597 Integrates the natural gas upstream emissions rate and global warming potential rule into other environmental and energy laws.

    • HB 2009 Establishing a healthy environment for all by addressing environmental health disparities. One of our disappointments is the HEAL ACT which lost ground in the last round of negotiations. This would have created a Task Force to address health disparities due to environmental impacts, including Climate Change and Environmental Justice for this vulnerable populations wherein life expectancy, health and quality of life demand increased awareness and resources. This challenge remains unmet with the derailment of HB 2009.
    • SB 5489 Creating environmental justice task force. 

    • SB 5811 Reducing emissions be making changes to the clean car standards and clean car program.

    • SB 5947 Establishing the sustainable farms and fields grant program.

    • SB 5971 Transportation funding, including carbon fee.  

    • SB 5981 Implementing a greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program. The League is watching this bill, pending further developments that would indicate how its provisions would be implemented and funded if it were passed along with other energy and transportation bills that the League supported during this legislative session.
    ENERGY

    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put a price on carbon, and enact measures to promote climate resiliency.

    Issue Team Chair:
     Elyette Weinstein
     – eweinstein [at] lwvwa.org – (360) 791-5840

    Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 

    2019 Legislative Session Recap

    Our main goal this session was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to increase climate resilience. The bills, described in the first section below, are part of the governor’s environmental legislative package designed to achieve this goal. The governor’s request legislation promotes climate resilience by requiring that new buildings and appliances be energy efficient. Both bills passed this legislative session and will soon become law, promoting the health of our climate.

    Bills the League Supported That Passed
    • E3SHB 1257 Encourages energy efficient residential buildings in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gasses. Passed the House, 55-37, 6 excused. Passed the Senate 25-23. Delivered to the Governor for signature. 
    • 2SHB 1444 Applies energy efficiency standards to a broad array of appliances that are sold, offered for sale or installed in the state. Passed the House, 57-41. Passed the Senate 26-22, 1 excused. Delivered to the Governor for signature.  
    Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass
    • ESHB 1332 The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC or Council) coordinates all evaluation and licensing steps for siting certain proposed energy facilities. This bill streamlines and update EFSEC operations. It adds two tribal members to the Council, and tribal governments have a larger voice in energy site selection.
    • HB 1642 requires large utilities and allows small utilities, as well as retail electric cooperatives, to offer “on-bill” repayment programs to customers. “On-bill” programs give utility customers the option to pay back loans for energy conservation or renewable energy projects by having the repayment added to their utility bill. 
    • SB 5118 Unless specifically allowed by statute, electric utilities would be prohibited from establishing compensation arrangements or interconnection requirements that limit the ability of customers to generate or store electricity for consumption on their premises. 
    • SB 5697 Updates wood stove emissions standards to address technological advancements in order to reduce fine particle pollution from wood stoves.
    FORESTS & RIVERS

    Protect our forests from destructive wildfires and logging practices. Protect our northwest public lands and rivers systems.

    Issue Team Chair: Raelene Gold – rgold [at] lwvwa.org – (206) 303-7218

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    Most of the bills we support have passed or on way. What remains are the bills related to the budget negotiations. Our priorities are:

    • SB 5996 which sets up a dedicated account for wildfire prevention and suppression, funded by a surcharge on property and casualty insurance.
    • SSB 5130 / HB 1228 funding for fish barrier removal with a graduated real estate excise tax, in the Transportation budget.
    2019 Legislative Session Recap

    Forests

    Measures for the preparation for and prevention of wildfires, made great progress this session. Combined with bills from the 2018 session, there has been strong progress towards wildfire preparation in integrated training and deployment among the various Department of Natural Resources (DNR) firefighters, National Guard members and Correctional Department prisoners. More DNR firefighters, helicopters and other equipment have been secured, and on the ground pre-planning included.

    DNR has a twenty year forest health program to help prevent wildfires especially focused on at risk forests treatments of prescribed burning and thinning. Though DNR was well funded, the long term dedicated fund account sought by Commissioner Franz remains a goal for next year.

    This summer’s wildfire season will test our preparation. One issue is the smoke also coming from British Columbia, Idaho, or Oregon that is a severe health and economic problem.

    Rivers

    River protection has not benefited from such forward thinking, except in the area of irrigated agriculture where concerns about future drought continues to secure ample funding for the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. Also, concerns about sufficient salmon for orcas, resulted in the passage of SHB 1579 Increasing Chinook salmon for Orcas, and restricting hydraulic project permits that damage the fish’s spawning habitat. The operating budget also included funding for a study regarding preparing for the outcome of the lower Snake River dams breeching or removal. The Transportation budget included funding for fish barrier removal, which will also help salmon, though a bill funding fish barrier removal for counties and cities helping connectivity did not pass.

    Other important bills protecting rivers, including ESSB 5322, prohibiting motorized or gravity siphon aquatic mining from certain rivers, and HB 1187, revising hydraulic project eligibility standards for conservation district fish habitat enhancement, failed to pass. These are very common sense bills that we hoped will be introduced next year.

    Thanks for all your help in getting so many bills passed!

    Bills the League Supported That Passed
    • HB 1011 Working forests real estate disclosures. Bill insures disclosure to residential buyers that property is near a “working forest” and its operations are protected. Provides information and protections to home purchasers. Passed the House, 98-0. Passed the Senate, 46-0, 3 excused. Signed by the Governor on April 8, 2019.
    • HB 1137 National Guard payment for state active service for wild land fire response duty. State National Guard is an important component of state combined training and wildfire response teams. Passed the House 95-0, 3 excused. Passed the Senate 47-0, 2 excused. Signed by the Governor on April 19, 2019.
    • SHB 1170 State fire service mobilization. Prepares for early wildfire response. Passed the House 94-0, 4 excused. Passed the Senate 40-0 with amendments. Delivered to the Governor for signature. 
    • SSHB 1579 Increasing Chinook salmon abundance for endangered southern resident Orca whales by restricting fishing of Orca prey fish and hydraulic project permits that may damage fish habitat. Passed the House 59-39. Passed the Senate 26-20, 3 excused. Delivered to the Governor for signature. 
    • 2SHB 1784 Concerning Wildfire Prevention. Includes on the ground preplanning for wildfire preparation, including placement of firebreaks. Important addition to wildfire preparation measures. Passed the House 96-0, 2 excused. Passed the Senate 48-0, 1 excused. Delivered to the Governor for signature.  
    • SSB 5010 Allowing Fire Districts to annex land parcels to insure protection fees are paid. Passed the Senate 43-4, 2 excused. Passed the House 97-0, 1 excused. Signed by the Governor on April 29, 2019.
    • ESSB 5330 Analyzing state impact on small forest landowners. Directs the University of Washington to complete a trends analysis and regulatory impact analysis on small forest landowners.  Since the 1999 Forests and Fish Rule there are fears of Washington state losing its small forest landowners.  Passed the Senate 49-0. Passed the House 98-0 with amendments. Delivered to the Governor for signature.
    • ESSB 5579 Prohibits volatile Bakken crude oil rain transfer or storage. Ensures that Bakken oil is processed to remove volatility preventing risk of explosions. Passed the Senate 27-20, 2 excused. Passed the House 53-40, 5 excused with amendments. Delivered to the Governor for signature.
    • SSB 5597 Creating a work group on aerial herbicide applications in forestlands. Passed the Senate 47-0, 2 excused. Passed the House 95-1, 2 excused with amendments. Delivered to the Governor for signature.
    • SJM 8005 Supporting the continued research, development, production, and application of biochar from our forests and agricultural lands waste to make a carbon sequestering and water retaining soil amendment. Passed the Senate 49-0. Passed the House 98-0. 
    Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass
    • HB 1187 Revising hydraulic project eligibility standards for conservation district sponsored fish habitat enhancement bills. Good bill helping these beneficial projects move forward. 
    • HB 1940 Wildland fire early response. Supports DNR’s policy of putting out small fires early to prevent larger more catastrophic and costly fires.
    • HB 1941 Reviewing catastrophic wildfire impacts on communities.
    • SB 5130 / HB 1228 Funding for Fish Barrier Removal by increasing transportation revenues. Because of a tribal culvert suit the State needs funding to remove barriers for fish to reach tributary spawning grounds; funding included in the Governor’s transportation budget.  
    • SHB 2022 Proving funding options to local governments for fish passage barrier removals. Provides cities and counties with funding options and helps with opening up more salmon habitat beyond barriers. 
    • 2SSB 5019 Extends expiration date of fire service mobility acts. 
    • ESSB 5322 Ensuring DOE compliance with the Clean Water Act by prohibiting motorized or gravity siphon aquatic mining and their discharges from certain waters of the state. 
    • SB 5580 Increases Chinook salmon for orcas by increasing prey fish and habitat availability. Protects upstream tributary salmon spawning areas. Is one of the recommendations of the Governor’s southern resident killer whale task force.
    • 2SSB 5873 Creates a Community Forest Pilot Program at the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board to determine feasibility of establishing an ongoing competitive grant program. 
    • SSB 5996 Funding fire prevention and suppression activities. Creates a new dedicated source of funding, the Wildfire Prevention and Suppression Account, to be spent on: emergency firefighting, preparedness, prevention and forest health. Revenue source is a raise in the tax on property and casualty insurance premiums from 2.0% to 2.52%. Proactively addresses staggering annual costs of wildfires. In Senate Ways & Means Committee; hearing drew support, but insurance industry opposed funding by increasing the tax on property and casualty insurance.
    • SJM 8014 Concerning logging and mining in the upper Skagit watershed. Late introduced Memorial to the British Columbia government requesting they work with the City of Seattle and the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission to prevent logging and mining in the donut hole, between Manning Provincial Park and the North Cascades National Park. Cooperation would protect the upper Skagit watershed salmon spawning areas and water quality. Fifty percent of Puget Sound Chinook salmon come from the Skagit so is important to Orca recovery. 
    Bills the League Opposed That Did Not Pass
    • HB 1889 / SB 5136 Establishing a water infrastructure program, funding projects for Office of Columbia River, Office of Chehalis Basin, Fish Barrier Removal Board and Department of Ecology. We oppose this bill due to omnibus bill overreach, lack of public transparency and participation in projects funded, not in Governor's budget and too extensive ($500M/biennium) considering other natural resource capitol budget requests this biennium. This bill may be Necessary to Implement the Budget, and thus may not be fully dead.

    • HB 1983 Concerning natural resource management activities.

    • SB 5701 Allows conveyance of state lands to a county for establishment of a community forest. Would weaken environmental protection and trust land payments.

    SHORELINES, WETLANDS, & LAND USE

    Protect our Shoreline Management, Growth Management & State Environmental Policy Acts from efforts to weaken them.


    Issue Team Chair: Karen Luetjen – khluetjen [at] lwvwa.org 
    Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 
    2019 Legislative Session Recap

    Our goal for the 2019 session was to: Protect our Shoreline Management, Growth Management & State Environmental Policy Acts from efforts to weaken them.

    New legislation will reduce threats to native Orca whales by protecting them from vessels, oil spills and toxins. Measures to improve access to Chinook salmon also passed, following the recommendations of Governor Jay Inslee’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force. Proposals that would have potentially harmed the nearshore environment were defeated, including bills promoting use of pesticides in aquaculture.

    Many bills were proposed that could have weakened the Growth Management Act by waiving rules limiting growth in rural areas or speeding the time-frame on permit reviews, or other attempts to work around land use protections. None of these bills passed. To increase density in urban areas, 2SHB 1923 was passed but is not yet signed by the Governor, amid calls for him to veto it. We anticipate that HB 1544 to reform vesting practices will be reintroduced next year.

        Bills the League Supported That Passed
        • ESHB 1578 Reducing threats to southern resident killer whales by improving the safety of oil transportation. Requires tug escorts for some oil transport vessels. Passed the House 70-28. Passed the Senate 32-13. Signed by the Governor on May 8, 2019. 
        • 2SHB 1579 Implementing recommendations of the southern resident killer whale task force related to increasing chinook abundance. Passed the House 59-39. Passed the Senate 26-20. Signed by the Governor on May 8, 2019. 
        • 2SHB 1923 Increasing urban residential building capacity. Passed the House, 66-30, 2 excused. Passed the Senate 33-12. Pending signature from the Governor.
        • SSB 5135 Preventing toxic pollution that affects public health or the environment. As a part of the response to the orca crisis, this bill proposes to identify priority toxic chemicals for the Department of Ecology to regulate, reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals in the outdoor environment and waters of the state. Passed the Senate, 25-24. Passed the House 60-37, 1 excused with amendments. Signed by the Governor on May 8, 2019. 
        • 2SSB 5577 Concerning the protection of southern resident orca whales from vessels. Passed the House, 46-3. Passed the House 84-13, with amendments. Signed by the Governor on May 8, 2019. 
        • SB 5918 Providing whale watching guidelines in the boating safety education program.. Passed the House, 90-5, with amendments. Passed the Senate 48-1. Signed by Governor on May 8, 2019.
        Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass
        • HB 1036 Willapa Bay Salmon Restoration Act. Ensures that Hatcheries connected to Willapa Bay produce annual number equal to or greater than the average annual number over the last 20 years.
        • HB 1341 Concerning the use of unmanned aerial systems near certain protected marine species.
        • HB 1544 Addressing the effective date of certain actions taken under the growth management act. This vesting reform bill reduces the chance that building permits that could degrade the environment would be approved.
        • HB 1781 Amending the land use petition act. 
        • HB 1824 Addressing the impacts of pinnipeds on populations of threatened southern resident orca prey. Requires the Department of Ecology to consult with tribes, anglers and conservation groups to address the predation of salmon by seals and sea lions.
        • SB 5440 Concerning the housing element of comprehensive plans required under the Growth Management Act. This bill would provide a boost to expanding affordable housing in jurisdictions.
        • SB 5617 Banning the use of non-tribal gill nets. Intended to allow the native salmon population to rebound.
        • SB 5578 Reducing threats to southern resident killer whales by improving the safety of oil transportation.
        • SB 5657 Requiring publicly owned wastewater treatment plants that directly discharge to Puget Sound to control pollution from opioids.
        • SSB 5812 Concerning local governments planning and zoning for accessory dwelling units. 
        • SB 5824 Funding efforts to increase salmon population. Establishes a pilot program to explore ways to make fisheries financially self-sustaining as they are in Alaska.
        Bills the League Opposed That Did Not Pass 
        • HB 1031 Reducing government imposed obligations associated with bulkhead maintenance or repairs. This bill proposes to waive environmental guidelines for all branches of government regarding repair or maintenance of existing bulkheads or bank protection structures. 
        • HB 1037 Concerning the use of chemicals to prevent the decline of aquaculture production. The bill would require the Department of Ecology to approve a pesticide for use in the near shore environment. 
        • HB 1051 Focusing growth management act requirements on larger counties experiencing population growth. Would waive key provisions of the Growth Management Act for less populous counties. 
        • HB 1233 Removes requirement regarding best available science in Growth Management considerations.
        • HB 1451 An Act relating to local project review undertaken under chapter 36.70B RCW; and amending RCW 36.70B.070. Requires local governments to speed the permitting process which could result in additional administrative burden.
        • HB 1611 Safe Cultivation of Shellfish. Authorizes use of a pesticide in nearshore aquaculture.
        • SB 5026 Proposing that urban growth area boundaries shall follow existing parcel boundary lines.
        • ESB 5008 Allows jurisdictions planning under the Growth Management Act to create short subdivisions of up to nine lots and, by ordinance, to create short subdivisions of up to 30 lots within any urban growth area.
        • SB 5193 Concerning the process of identifying limited areas of more intensive rural development. 
        • SB 5194 Concerning the review of urban growth area boundaries. 
        • SB 5245 Removes requirement regarding best available science in Growth Management considerations.
        • SB 5372 Concerning local project review of permit application. Requires local governments to speed the permitting process which could result in additional administrative burden.
        • SB 5384 Concerning the location of tiny house communities. Allows communities to locate tiny house developments outside of city limits where services would be minimal.
        • SB 5626 Safe Cultivation of Shellfish. Authorizes use of a pesticide in nearshore aquaculture.

        • SB 5630 Concerning the composition of the growth management hearings board. Places unnecessary new requirements on the hearings board that would disrupt the current effective structure.

        • SB 5639 Concerning the growth management hearings board (GMHB) hearings. Places unnecessary new requirements on the hearings board that would disrupt the current effective structure.

        Right Now In Transportation 

        The information below reflects the current status of bills we are following, as of this week.

        Bills the League is Watching
        • HB 1228 / SB 5130 Increasing transportation revenues to help fund state fish barrier removal would impose a graduated real estate excise tax (REET) beginning July 1, 2019. and accelerate the effective date of certain vehicle weight fees to be used for fish barrier removal. The REET for properties less than $250,000 would decrease from the current rate of 1.28% and properties valued at $1 million and over would have higher rates than the current 1.28%.. Funds collected from this tax would be used for the Multimodal Transportation Account., which is transportation related but broader than highway purposes and can include public transportation and rail. Although neither bill has moved out of committee, they have revenue implications and may be pulled out of committee at some point for the budget.
        • HB 1928 / SB 5913 Providing toll relief for users of the Tacoma Narrows bridge would modify the current tolling plan and requests a report that provides recommendations for further opportunities for toll payer relief through 2031. This bill has implications for the budget, so although it has not passed out of committee in either house, it could still be pulled out for budget.
        • HB 1994 Facilitating transportation projects of statewide significance would establish a process for inter-governmental coordination for projects exceeding $1 billion. Although the League would normally support this kind of coordination, it remains to be seen whether this is assumed to be tacit approval of new, large projects. This bill has passed the House 69-28; and has passed the Senate 41-5. Delivered to the Governor for signature.
        • SB 5018 Changing the current flexible toll option on I-405 HOV lanes to a single HOV lane with no toll, reverting to the previous system. This has not moved but could still be pulled for the budget
        • SB 5825 Addressing the tolling of Interstate 405, state route number 167, and state route number 509, would prioritize the Highway 167 Gateway projects and authorize a toll method appropriate for traffic management on the I-405 and SR 167 corridors between Lynnwood and SR 512. This bill is in Senate Rules Committee and could be incorporated into the transportation budget. Scheduled for public hearing and legislative action this weekend. Status will not be known as of the date of this posting.
        • SJR 8206 Amending the State Constitution so that certain sales and use tax revenue collected from new and used car purchases are used for highway purposes would include camper vehicles and trailers in the taxes applied to the state highway fund. No alternative to this initiative is likely to be placed on the ballot by the Legislature.
        Bills the League Supported That Passed
        • SHB 1160 making transportation appropriations for the 2019-2020 fiscal biennium. This is the House transportation budget. Passed the House, 90 – 5 and was amended but passed the Senate 47-0. Delivered to the Governor for signature. 
        • HB 1512 Concerning the electrification of transportation would authorize the governing body of a municipal electric utility or public utility district to adopt an electrification of transportation plan and to offer incentive programs in the electrification of transportation and authorize a private utility to submit an electrification of transportation plan to the WUTC. Passed the House, 64-33. Passed the Senate 36-11. Signed by the Governor on April 23, 2019.
        • HB 1584 Relating to restricting the availability of state funds to regional transportation planning organizations that do not provide a reasonable opportunity for voting membership to certain federally recognized tribes. Passed the House 64-33, 1 excused. Passed the Senate 27-19. Signed by the Governor on April 24, 2019.
        • HB 2042 relating to advancing green transportation adoption would support increased use of vehicles that do not rely on fossil fuels. It would increase the availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, reinstate the alternative fuel vehicle sales tax exemption, increase the registration fee for EVs and deposit those fees in a dedicated EV account, increase the B&O tax credit for alternative fuel vehicles used commercially, and create a variety of programs for public sector use of alternative fuel vehicles. Passed the House 87-9. Passed the Senate 31-17. Delivered to Governor for signature. 
        • SB 5370 Creating a state commercial aviation coordinating commission would establish a commission charged with identifying a location for a new primary commercial aviation facility. Passed the Senate 45-1, 3 excused. Passed the House 96-0. Delivered to the Governor for signature. 
        • SB 5710 Establishing the active transportation safety advisory council would modify the statute establishing a pedestrian council to one that is broader in scope and involves other non-motor transportation modes. SB 5710 passed the Senate 48-0, 1 excused. Passed the House 68-29. Signed by the Governor on April 17, 2019--partially vetoed. 
        • SB 5723 Relating to increasing safety on roadways for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other roadway users would establish a fine for passing incorrectly around a vulnerable user of a public roadway (pedestrian, cyclist, horseback rider, etc.) and the fines would be used for driver education about safety. Passed the Senate 48-0. Passed the House 70-26. Delivered to Governor for signature. 
        • SB 5923 Establishing an emergency loan program to be administered by the county road administration board would authorize the County Road Administration Board to create an emergency revolving loan program for certain counties for road or bridge work that is necessary due to a natural or manmade event for which a disaster was declared. Passed the Senate 48-0. Passed the House 98-0. Signed by the Governor on April 26, 2019. 
        Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass
        • HB 1110 Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation fuels. This bill would limit the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035. 
        • HB 1508 / SB 5521 Concerning the distribution of connecting Washington funds to local and state transportation agencies would continue the 16-year transportation funding plan called Connecting Washington established in 2015. New revenue would support the new transportation funding package under development this year. 
        • HB 2068 Relating to providing discounted toll rates to certain individuals on certain tolled facilities would establish a program that would provide a 40% discount in tolls on the following roads for people in the TANF and food stamp programs. Roads include SRs 167, 405 and 509.
        • HB 1664 / SB 5336 Relating to advancing electric transportation would support development of transportation electrification plans by public electric utilities and asks the Department of Commerce to conduct a study.  
        • SB 5695 Concerning high occupancy vehicle lane penalties would establish a graduated penalty for violating HOV lane usage, with penalties increasing with each additional offense. 
        • SB 5970 Authorizing bonds for transportation funding, which authorizes $5 billion in bonding for state transportation projects.
        • SB 5971 Concerning transportation funding, which establishes a variety of new revenues for transportation projects.
        • SB 5972 Concerning additive transportation funding and appropriations, which lays out the array of state transportation projects and transfers to various other jurisdictions in the state for transportation purposes. 

        WATER

        Continue improving the state and local governmental programs empowered to protect the quality and quantity of our water including municipal water, groundwater, and in-stream flows.

        Issue Team Chair: Martin Gibbins – mgibbins [at] lwvwa.org – (425) 361-5007
        Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 
        2019 Legislative Session Recap 

        Our goal for the 2019 legislative session was to continue improving the state and local governmental programs empowered to protect the quality and quantity of our waste including municipal water, ground water, and in-stream flows. The legislature made significant progress on these goals. Most of the opportunity this session was in reducing pollution that finds its way into our water. Three notable successes this session include SHB 1290 reviews of voluntary cleanup projects, SSB 5135 to identify and regulate toxic pollution that affects public health or the environment, and SB 5145 to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas. These bill should improve or prevent degradation of stream and ground water quality in the near future and in the long term, plus improve human health and the environment for orcas, salmon, and other wildlife.

        Several bills either did not emerge from committee consideration or did not receive floor votes. These remain significant issues so we expect them to be reintroduced next session The biggest disappointment was the failure of ESSB 5323, reducing pollution from plastic bags, which passed the Senate committees and floor vote, then passed the House committees, was not called for a vote on the House floor. We expect this bill will be reintroduced next session. Other bills failing to emerge from committee and did not pass are described below.

        Thank you to everyone who contacted your legislators to vote for these bills.

        Bills the League Supported That Passed
        • SHB 1290 Reviews of voluntary cleanup projects. Authorize the Department of Ecology (DOE) to offer expedited advice and assistance to voluntary toxic cleanup projects. This bill enables the DOE to provide an expedited consultation and review process for persons conducting independent cleanup projects for toxic sites. Requestors are required to cover all related DOE costs, but those may be waived for validated affordable housing development projects requiring cleanup. Proponents expect this approach will help clear a back-log of needed cleanup. Passed the House, 98-0. Passed the Senate 47-0, 2 excused. Signed by the Governor on April 23.  Will be funded from the model toxics control operating account [Ref. ESHB 1109 – Conference Report].
        • SSB 5135 Identifies and regulates toxic pollution that affects public health or the environment. This is a significant bill requiring the Department of Ecology to proactively identify chemicals appearing in products or entering our environment that have been shown to degrade human health or our ecology. As the federal government agencies such as the EPA and others, demonstrate their intent to withdraw regulations for such chemicals, the states and local jurisdictions must take action. These bills are also part of the effort to recover Chinook salmon and Southern Resident Orcas in our region. Passed the Senate, 25-24. Passed the House 60-37. Delivered to Governor for signature.Will be funded from the model toxics control operating account [Ref. ESHB 1109 – Conference Report].
        • SB 5145 Prohibiting hydraulic fracturing in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas. Fracking consumes a great deal of fresh water, and some areas have experienced well contamination in areas where fracking occurred. Very little gas or oil production has occurred in WA state, and none is anticipated in the foreseeable future, yet the oil and gas industry is lobbying against the bill. The LWVWA believes this bill will ensure that if the time comes for extraction, our state can authorize fracking with all due protections and caution. We also believe such a restriction will encourage our state to continue leading toward reducing dependency on fossil fuels. Passed the Senate, 29-18. Passed the House 61-37 with amendments. Delivered to Governor for signature.
        • SB 5352 Extending the Walla Walla watershed management pilot program. History: A 10-year pilot program was funded to increase stream flow in the Walla Walla River by encouraging cooperation among the stake-holders: home-owners, businesses, farmers, and tribes. The current bills extend funding 2 more years for additional monitoring and auditing the project. Passed the Senate 48-0, 1 excused. Passed the House 96-0, 2 excused. Signed by the Governor on April 19. Will be funded by the General Fund [Ref. ESHB 1109 – Conference Report].
        Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass

        Although these bills did not succeed this session, they will likely be introduced again next session.

        • HB 1165 Encouraging low-water landscaping practices as a drought alleviation tool. Primarily, prohibits condo and homeowners associations from using drought-resistant or wildfire ignition-resistant landscaping or requiring residents to water laws and landscaping during droughts.
        • HB 1632 Reducing pollution from single-use plastic food service ware.  These plastics are convenient, but when discarded often become litter and find their way into our water ways. This bill is a long-range phase out of single-use plastic utensils and condiment packaging with some exemptions.  

        • HB 1831 Improving the testing of drinking water for emerging contaminants.

        • HB 1853 Developing and coordinating a statewide don't drip and drive program. Non-point runoff is a primary source of pollution in our streams and Sound. This bill expands statewide a program that reduces auto fluid leakage by encouraging leak identification and repair. The short-term cost avoidance of not maintaining motor vehicles to minimize leaks is more than offset by the cost transferred to those who depend on clean water sources and the future liability of purifying needlessly polluted water.
        • HB 1860 Addressing lead in drinking water in schools.
        • ESSB 5323 Reducing pollution from plastic bags by establishing minimum state standards for single-use thin plastic grocery carryout bags across the state. Such bags clog recycling equipment and pollute our waterways with trash and smaller bits as they break down. Also required in the bill is a pass-through charge of 8 cents (reduced by amendment from 10 cents) on all paper or durable, reusable plastic carryout bags (minimum thickness reduced to 2.25 mils by amendment). This will encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable carryout bags and will level the field between small grocers and large chains that could bury this cost. The bill does not cover bags used for produce, newspapers, dry cleaning, small hardware items, prescription drugs, unwrapped prepared foods, bakery goods, frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, and potted plants. The bill also exempts recipients of food assistance programs, and slightly increase state revenue. The bill details were carefully and extensively negotiated with organizations representing grocers, retailers, and other stake holders. Twenty-six jurisdictions in Washington State already have a thin plastic bag restriction ordinances, and this bill would make the regulations more uniform across the state. 
        • SB 5077 Prohibiting single-use plastic straws, intended is to reduce plastic litter and pollution. Challenges include finding ecologically sensitive alternatives, and accommodations for the disability community.  


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