The legislative session 2019 was a banner year for environmental progress for Washington state; however, we want our lawmakers to know that people want this level of progress to be the new normal. With climate change accelerating and population growth demanding more resources, and increasing pollution to Puget Sound and the climate, we know we can’t stop now.
We’re tracking important bills and where they are in the path to becoming law. Updated January 23rd.
January 13, 2020 marks the first day of the two-month legislative session. You can help us advocate for the following top priorities in two important ways. First, join our Legislative Action Team and we’ll alert you of opportunities to use your voice and help pass key environmental measures, including when (and how) to write your legislators. Then, come to two lobby days in Olympia with us and meet with lawmakers!
Priorities for 2020
Reusable Bag Act (SB 5323 / HB 1205): Prohibits the use of thin single-use plastic carryout bags in Washington and builds on local ordinances already in place throughout the state. As of August 2019, there are 32 jurisdictions, including Bellingham, that have instituted plastic-bag ban laws.
Healthy Habitat, Healthy Orcas: The Southern Resident Orca Task Force wrapped up in November. Now it is time for the legislature to act on those recommendations to reduce the impacts of climate change and population growth on orcas, as well as determine how to keep the pressure on the state to continue prioritizing orca recovery. The most critical recommendation is for the state to move from a “no net loss” of habitat standard to one of “net ecological gain” in order to restore habitat from development impacts. This approach is needed in order to reverse the continued decline in salmon habitat in the Puget Sound region.
Drought resilience (HB 1622 / SB 5675): Modernizing Washington’s drought statutes is important to effectively prepare for and respond to drought emergencies. This bill will create tools and resources to help build long-term drought resiliency among water users and communities throughout the state, improve the state’s ability to effectively respond to drought in the short term, and codify the best practices identified in the updated 2018 Washington State Drought Contingency Plan.
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy & Resilience (C-PACER) Financing (HB 1796): This legislation enables building owners to fund improvements in new and existing commercial, industrial, non-profit, and multi-family buildings that improve their long-term economic and environmental sustainability. This bill provides a new mechanism to allow building owners to invest in water and energy conservation improvements that are included in the financing of the building even when the building changes ownership.
Clean Fuels Standard: The Clean Fuels Standard is pointed at the greatest source of our emissions, offering the opportunity to transition our vehicle fleet to cleaner fuels, including electrifying transit, trucks, and cars. The current proposal is in line with the most ambitious similar program in California and would reduce approximately 6 million tons by 2035.
Other issues we’re supporting
- Prohibiting suction dredge mining in salmon habitat (SB 5322 / HB 1261).
- Legislation reforming the transaction of water rights.
- Copper anti-fouling paint ban.
- Zero Emission Vehicle Standards (SB 5811).
- Vesting reform under the Growth Management Act (HB 1544).
- Funding for solar tax incentives.
- Sustainable Farms & Fields (SB 5947).
Join our Legislative Action Team to stay in the loop and find the right role for you to engage — whether that’s contacting your elected officials, writing letters to the editor, attending a lobby day, spreading the word with friends and family, or testifying in committee — there’s a role for you!