Considerable progress was made in Washington’s 2019 legislative session to protect orcas, mandate 100% carbon-free electricity and clean buildings, and regulate refrigerant hydrofluorocarbons. But, oh so much more has to happen to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our environment and lives. The start of the legislature’s 60-day “short session” in January gives us an opportunity to do more.
We have a biennial legislature which means adjustments can be made in the two-year budget adopted in 2019. And bills approved in only one chamber last year aren’t dead. They return to their originating chamber for a final reading and floor vote. If/when they’re re-approved, they go back to the opposite chamber for committee hearings/votes and potentially a floor vote and approval.
Transportation fuels account for over 40% of Washington’s global warming pollution, and Sacred Earth Matters’ top priority is to get the Clean Fuels Program bill (HB 1110) approved. It passed in the House last year, but oil and trucking industry opponents prevented it from coming to a vote in the Senate.
Another SEM priority is SB 5323 which bans single-use plastic bags statewide. It was approved in the Senate by a 31-14 bipartisan vote. But the pulp and paper industry managed to stop the House in the closing hours of the session from voting on it.
Other climate bills include:
1) Sustainable farms & fields (SB 5947); Senate
approval by bipartisan 32-15 vote;
2) Zero emission vehicle standards (SB 5811); Senate approval with a narrow 26-22 partisan vote; and
3) Healthy habitat, healthy salmon—a new bill to create a “net ecological gain” standard for the orca’s preferred food; improve and increase fish stocks; and clean up toxic wastes to improve water quality.
Anyone can call the legislative hotline, regardless of their age or voter status. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s effective. Consequently, everyone can help get these bills passed.
SEM encourages everyone to “subscribe” to its Legislative Priority of the Week email alerts. Each alert provides information on a specific bill facing a critical committee or floor vote, and directions on contacting legislators to ask them to vote for the bill. 138 people already receive these alerts. Our voice will be louder if we have two or three times that number calling. Ask moc.oohay@nosrekcid_nol to add you to the email list (Please include your state legislative district or residence address.)
The Earth is Sacred – Not Ours to Wreck