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
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 
Right Now In Climate Change

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.

The following bills are scheduled for hearings or executive session committee action this week. If your legislators are members of these committees, please contact them and urge them to move these bills out of committee and onto the next committee.

  • SB 5489 Creating environmental justice task force, is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations on March 19 at 1:30pm.
  • SHB 1110 Reduces greenhouse gas emissions with transportation fuels, is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology on March 21 at 10:00am.
  • SB 5116 Supporting Washington's Clean Energy Economy, is scheduled for public hearing in the House Finance Committee on March 21 at 1:30pm.  
  • SHB 1114 Reduces food waste causing hunger and environmental impacts, is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks on March 21 at 1:30pm.
Bills the League Supports
  • SHB 1110 Reduces greenhouse gas emissions with transportation fuels. Passed the House, 53-43.
  • SHB 1112 Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons. Passed the House, 55-39, 4 excused. 
  • SHB 1114 Reduces Food Waste Causing Hunger and Environmental Impacts. Passed the House, 96-0. 
  • 2 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. 
  • SB 5489 Creating environmental justice task force. Passed the Senate, 27-21, 1 excused.

  • SB 5971 Transportation funding, including carbon fee. (Necessary To Implement the Budget)

Bills the League Supported Which Did Not Pass
  • HB 1113 Aligns Washington State's greenhouse gas reduction goals with the 2015 Paris Agreement and current climate change science assessments. 
  • HB 2009 Addressing environmental health disparities.

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! 

Right Now In Energy

Two priority Energy bills need your support moving through the legislative process. If your legislators are members of the below committees please contact them and urge them to support moving these bills out of committee and onto the next committee: 

  • E2SSB 5116, transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future. This bill passed the Senate and is now scheduled for a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on March 19 at 8:00am. 
  • 2SHB 1257, requiring energy efficient buildings for homeowners and tenants, including low income residents, was referred to the House Appropriations Committee after the House Finance Committee passed a second substitute bill. This bill is scheduled for an executive session on March 18 at 3:30pm.
  • 2SSB 5293, requiring energy efficient buildings for homeowners and tenants, including low income residents, passed the Senate Rules Committee. This bill is ready to be considered for passage by the full Senate. 
Bills the League Supports
  • SB 5116 The Governor’s Office has written legislation which limits and eventually eliminates use of fossil fuel generated electricity. Passed the Senate 28-19, excused 2. 
  • HB 1257SB 5293 encourages energy efficient residential buildings in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gasses. 
  • HB 1332 The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) coordinates all evaluation and licensing steps for siting certain proposed energy facilities. These companion bills would: Streamline and update EFSEC operations, plus add a tribal member to the EFSEC. HB 1332 requires that prior to sending an EFSEC recommendation to the governor, the Chair must seek comments from representatives of each of the tribal governments that stand to be affected by the siting of a proposed energy facility. Passed the House, 88-8, 2 excused.
  • 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. 
Bills the League Supported Which Did Not Pass
  • SB 5697 Updates wood stove emissions standards to address technological advancements in order to reduce fine particle pollution from wood stoves.
  • 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. 
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
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 
Right Now In Forests & Rivers

*Action Alert* ESSB 5579 would require rail facilities to provide type and vapor pressure of oil transferred to the Department of Ecology, and prohibits a rail facility from unloading or loading crude oil unless the oil has a vapor pressure less than nine (9) psi, which removes its volatility. Click here to tell the House Environment & Energy Committee to support this bill.  

In Forests, there are bills strengthening wildfire preparation and supported community forests creation to preserve working forestland. New promising bills on carbon sequestration in forests and soils will probably be reintroduced next session.

In Rivers there are a number of bills aimed at fish barrier removal, that are costly and Necessary To Implement the Budget (NTIB). Bills also address problems caused by motorized hydraulic activities in rivers that impact salmon spawning areas.

      The bills listed below have survived their chamber of origin and have their first hearings this week in the opposite chamber’s policy committee. Please click on the committee to see if your Senator or Representative is a member, then click on the bill number. This takes you to the bill information page, where you find your Legislative District and can comment on the bill to your legislator. Thank you for your support!

      Bills the League Supports
      • 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. 
      • 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.
      • SHB 1170 State fire service mobilization. Prepares for early wildfire response. Passed the House, 94-0, 4 excused.
      • 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. 
      • HB 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.  (Necessary to Implement the Budget)
      • SSB 5010 Allowing Fire Districts to annex land parcels to insure protection fees are paid. Passed the Senate, 43-4, 2 excused. 
      • SB 5130 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. (Necessary to Implement the Budget) 
      • 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. Passed the Senate, 30-17, 2 excused. 
      • 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. 
      • 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.
      • SSB 5597 Creating a work group on aerial herbicide applications in forestlands. Passed the Senate, 47-0, 2 excused. 
      • 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. Protects forestlands and empowers rural communities. Passed the Senate, 41-5, 3 excused.
      • 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. 
      Bills the League Supported Which Did Not Pass
      • 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.
      • 2SSB 5019 Extends expiration date of fire service mobility acts. 
      • SB 5580 Increases Chinook salmon for orcas by increasing prey fish and habitat availability. Protects upstream tributary salmon spawning areas. Is one of the recommendation of the Governor’s southern resident killer whale task force.
      Bills the League Opposed Which 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! 
      Right Now In Shorelines, Wetlands, & Land Use

      *Action Alert* Join the League in supporting five bills scheduled for public hearings this week designed to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales from threats, and increase their access to Chinook Salmon. These bills will give this species the best chance for rebounding in population in the coming years. Click here to send an email to your legislators to support these important bills.


      Legislators are proposing bills to address the orca crisis and improve clean water provisions. The League supports bills that enforce or strengthen the statewide protections on water, shorelines, wetlands and critical areas. The League opposes bills that will weaken the Growth Management Act.

      Upcoming hearings for bills which survived cutoff are listed below. If your legislators are on these committees, please urge them to support these bills.

      If your legislators are on the following committee, please urge them to oppose this bill.
      • SB 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. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Local Government Committee on March 22 at 10:00am. 
        Bill the League Supports
        • HB 1341 Concerning the use of unmanned aerial systems near certain protected marine species. Passed out of the House 67-26, 5 excused. 
        • 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. 
        • 2SHB 1579 Implementing recommendations of the southern resident killer whale task force related to increasing chinook abundance. Passed the House 59-39. 
        • 2SHB 1580 / 2SSB 5577 Concerning the protection of southern resident orca whales from vessels. 2SHB 1580 passed the House 78-20. 2SHB 1580 passed the House, 78-20. 2SSB 5577 passed the Senate, 46-3. 
        • 2SHB 1923 Increasing urban residential building capacity. Passed the House, 66-30, 2 excused. 
        • 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.
        • 2SSB 5577 Concerning the protection of southern resident orca whales from vessels. Passed the House, 46-3. 
        • SSB 5812 Concerning local governments planning and zoning for accessory dwelling units. Passed the Senate, 38-10, 2 excused. 
        Bills the League Opposes
        • 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. Passed the Senate, 46-2, 1 excused. 
        Bills the League Supported Which 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 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.
        • 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 Which 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.
        • 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 

        Not all transportation bills were required to pass their house of origin on the same March 13 cut-off date as most bills, because transportation and budget are on a different schedule. However, some bills were affected by that cut-off as reflected in the list of bills that died below.

        Senate Proposal – Transportation Package

        The following bills were moved out of the Senate Transportation Committee with a do-pass recommendation. They are now in the Senate Rules Committee. These comprise the transportation funding package Sen. Hobbs, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee proposed to supplement the 16-year plan adopted in 2016. They include:
        • 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; and
        • 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.

        In combination, these bills address gaps in the 2016 package and add support for multi-modal (transit, pedestrian and bicycle) and electrification that is new. In summary, the revenues include:

        • Carbon fee, $15/ton of CO2, dedicated to transportation. This is not the climate change incentive being discussed in other contexts.
        • Sales and Use Taxes on Car Rentals, Automobile Parts, and Bicycles
          • Tax on car rentals increased from 5% to 6.9%
          • 14.5% revenue to forward flexible account in sec 802 of this act
          • Remainder deposited to multimodal transportation account, RCW 47.66.070
          • New additional .3% (3/10 of one percent) tax on motor vehicle sales for multimodal transportation account (excludes farm vehicles, Off-road vehicles & snowmobiles)
          • New additional 1% tax on auto parts & accessories – deposited to forward flexible account
          • New additional 1% tax on bicycles – forward flexible account
        • Special Transportation Benefit Assessment – a new assessment on developed parcels to mitigate growth impacts on transportation infrastructure – for forward flexible account
          • Residential - $2 per $1000 AV
          • Manufacturing - $1 per $1000 AV
          • All others - $4 per $1000 AV
          • Forestland exempt
          • Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax – increased by $.06 per gallon beginning July 1, 2019 to be applied to the new Forward WA account
          • Various adjustments in Passenger Vehicle Registration, Weight etc.
          • Various adjustments in the Enhanced Driver’s License Fees, Electric Vehicle Fees, For-Hire Vehicle Fees
          • HOV Lane & Toll Violation fees and Capital Vessel Surcharge

        The projects that would be funded in this package include those in the table below. The following projects are identified as having statewide significance:

        • US 2 Trestle replacement
        • Columbia River bridge replacement
        • Fish Passage barrier removal
        • Hood River Bridge replacement
        • Bridge of the Gods replacement
        • All future bridges over the Columbia River that connect WA & OR

        For additional specific project information, see the LEAP notes 2019 NL-1 and NL-2, which itemizes spending categories over the next 10 years, and the balance sheet, which compares estimated revenue to proposed expenditures for 10 years.

        Appropriation  Amount  Notes 
         DOT for Facility Maintenance, Operations & Construction  2,000,000   
         DOT for Highway Maintenance  50,000,000   

         DOT for Traffic Operations

         5,000,000   
         DOT for Transportation Planning, Data & Research  100,000  Study the possible different governance structures for a bridge authority WA/OR; also limits funds to regional transportation planning organizations that do not provide reasonable opportunity for voting membership for Tribes
         DOT Public Transportation Program  69,000,000  $20 million - special needs; $11 million - rural mobility grants; $3 million - vanpool grants; $30 million for bus & bus facility grants; $4.5 million for transportation demand program expansion
         Dept of Commerce - Transportation Grid Electrification  50,000,000   Including electric charging needs of Chelan-Douglas PTBA (Link Transit)
         Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board  5,000,000   
         Transportation Improvement Board (TIB)  18,000,000   Complete Streets Program and City grants
         Country Road Admin Board (CRAB)  7,000,000   $2 million - emergency loan revolving account; $5 million to enhance county arterials
         DOT Improvements Program 1    770,642,000  See LEAP 2019 NL-1, 2/11/19; $350 million for removal of fish culverts using watershed approach; replace US 101/Lower Hoh Road Intersection; $50 million for stormwater improvements; SR 18 widening and light shields
         DOT Preservation Program  100,000,000  See LEAP 2019 NL-1, 2/11/19
         DOT Ferries Construction  167,000,000  See LEAP 2019 NL-1, 2/11/19
         DOT Rail Programs  15,000,000  See LEAP 2019 NL-1, 2/11/19
         DOT Local Programs 56,158,000  $23.658 million for LEAP 2019 NL-1, 2/11/19; $10 million - WA Ports; $15.5 million - pedestrian & bicycle safety program; $6 million - safe routes to school projects
         Admin Transfers  37,000,000   
         Distrib to Counties & Cities  37,500,000   


        Senate and House Activity

        These bills passed their house of origin, and will be considered in their opposite house beginning this week:

        • 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. Public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled for March 18 at 3:30pm. 
        • HB 1723 / 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 is scheduled for public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on March 18 at 3:30pm.
        • 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. Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee on March 19 at 10:00am.
        • 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. Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee on March 20 at 8:00am. 
        • 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. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on March 20 at 3:30pm.
        • 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 man-made event for which a disaster was declared. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on March 21 at 3:30pm.
        • 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.
        • 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. Currently with House Transportation Committee
        The following bills are in the Senate Rules Committee. Please contact your Senator and request they support these bills: 
        • 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.
        Bills the League Supports
        • 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. Passed the House, 53-43, 2 excused.
        • 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 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.
        • 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.
        • HB 1683 / 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.
        • HB 1710 / 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.
        • HB 1723 / 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 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.
        • 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.
        • 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.
        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.
        • 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.
        • 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.
        • 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.
        • SB 5336 Adds an electric and alternative fuel commercial vehicle sales tax incentive, removes the creation of the electric vehicle account and the change in how registration fees are distributed between designated accounts. It also provides that municipal utilities and PUDs may adopt and electric utilities may submit to the UTC an electrification of transportation plan that establishes utility outreach and investment in EV infrastructure does not increase net costs to ratepayers in excess of 0.0025 percent. It further changes the amount of time that the UTC has to acknowledge submittal of an electrification of transportation plan from four to six months. Adds provisions for a Charge Ahead Washington Program. It removes the requirement for the Department of Ecology to adopt California zero emission vehicle standards.
        • SB 5743 Concerning vehicle taxation would change the tax status of farm equipment, bicycles and other non-automobile vehicles.
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Bills the League Supported Which Did Not Pass
        • 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.  
        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! 
        Right Now In Water

        The legislative committees are now considering the bills that passed the other chamber. Your messaging with your legislators does make a difference. The bills listed below make improvements to water quality and may have other benefits. This is what you can do now: write to the legislators in the committees highlighted below, especially if they are in your district, and ask for their vote for these bills. You may express support to your legislators at any time, and you can find your legislative district and legislators at Who Represents You. A complete roster of all legislators is here.

        Find more information on these bills and other below. Click through to the official bill web pages where you can express your opinions in the Comment on this bill box. You can also read the bill details in the documentation on these pages, especially under Available Documents, Bill Reports. 

        Bills the League Supports
        • 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. Although flow improvement objectives have not been achieved, we agree with most of the stake-holders that we must not abandon pursuing solutions for restoring flow in our rivers, with the exception of dams or other inhibitors to fish migration. Passed the Senate, 48-0, 1 excused. Companion bill HB 1013 failed to receive a vote on the House floor. 
        • SB 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. Companion bill HB 1194 did not pass out of committee.
        • ESSB 5323 Reducing pollution from plastic bags by establishing minimum state standards. These companion bills prohibit 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 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) to 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, and exempt recipients of food assistance programs. This bill would also slightly increase state revenue. Twenty-six jurisdictions in Washington State already have a reusable bag restriction ordinance, and this bill would make the regulations more uniform across the state. Passed the Senate, 31-14, 4 excused. Companion bill HB 1205 did not pass out of committee. 
        • HB 1290 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 requiring cleanup. Proponents expect this approach will help clear a back-log of cleanup needed. This bill had bipartisan support. Passed the House, 98-0. Companion bill SB 5285 failed to receive a vote on the Senate floor. 
        • 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.
        • 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. Amendments to this bill have alleviated concerns. Passed the Senate, 27-21. 
        Bills the League Supported Which Did Not Pass
        • 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 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.


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