2022 Legislative Roundup

2022’s 60-day Legislative Session has come to a close! Thank you to everyone who participated in the session by calling and emailing senators and representatives and advocating on behalf of bills that will benefit our climate, natural environment and Methow Valley community.  As bills make their way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law, we wanted to recap the bills we were tracking and sending out to you that made it through the gauntlet of the legislative process (313 bills passed of 1657 total bills proposed). We encourage you to take one final follow up action of thanking our Senator and Representatives for supporting some of the bills that we endorsed.

A few major wins:

A Historic $17 Billion Transportation Package: Move Ahead Washington (SB 5974 and 5975) is a big, green 16-year transportation budget package that can help Washingtonians move themselves around the state in more climate-friendly and efficient ways. The package invests in projects including ultra-highspeed rail, culvert removal, new ferries, bike and pedestrian infrastructure and free public transportation for all those under 18. Here in the Methow Valley, this bill will help improve our existing transit system, fix and preserve existing roadways and fund potential electrification and clean transportation programs. 

Affordable Workforce Housing: Senator Hawkins was a champion of SB 5868 which will allow rural counties to use their 0.09 local-option sales tax funds for housing infrastructure or facilities. This bill will provide an important new tool to help address the affordable housing crisis in the Methow Valley.

Funding to Study the Removal of Enloe Dam: $250,000 has been allocated from the general fund over the next year for the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to analyze options for removing Enloe Dam and the sediment backed up behind it. Removing the dam would help to restore the Similkameen River and give steelhead and native salmonids access to over 300 miles of habitat.

A Strong Climate Commitment: The final budgets approved by the legislature reflect more than $2 billion in new commitments to climate programs and projects.

Other Key Bills that Passed through the Gauntlet:

School Bus Electrification (HB 1644)

With the passage of this bill, funds from the County Treasury Transportation Fund can be used for conducting feasibility studies for school bus electrification, purchasing electric school buses and paying for EV charging infrastructure for buses. This is a win for the climate as well as for the health of our children!

Organic Materials Management (E2SHB 1799)

This bill will help reduce organic material (yard waste, food waste, etc.) sent to our landfills and divert edible food to food rescue programs. It will require local governments to provide separate organic material waste collection services and establish a Washington Center for Sustainable Food Management.

Tribal consultation regarding the use of certain funds authorized by the Climate Commitment Act (SHB 1753)

This is an important bill addressing tribal sovereignty that requires state agencies to consult with federally recognized tribes whose tribal resources (land, water, areas of cultural importance) may be affected by the award of funds in the Climate Commitment Act.

A Pilot Project to Support Biochar Production (SSB 5961)

In a continuing commitment to finding alternative sources of employment in rural areas that contribute to a local restoration economy, the legislature funded a pilot project to determine the feasibility of using local forest products from Department of Natural Resources managed lands to support the production of biochar. Last year, the legislature funded the C-6 Forest to Farms ongoing biochar research demonstration project in the Methow Valley. We are encouraged that the legislature continues to support a solution that could simultaneously reduce wildfire risk in our forest, sequester carbon, and nourish our soils.

Appliance Efficiency Standards (SHB 1619)

This bill will set efficiency standards for certain appliances manufactured after June 2024 including air purifiers, commercial ovens, electric vehicle charging equipment, and residential ventilating fans.

State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (2SHB 1812)

This bill will update the existing Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council to meet the intent of the state’s clean energy goals.

What we like in the Final Budget:

Funds for EV Infrastructure: This includes $69 million in grants to create EV charging infrastructure, $25 million for EV incentives and $8.5 million to make a map of charging locations.

Funds for Solar Energy and Air Quality Monitoring in low-income or overburdened communities

Funds for the Creation of a Water Bank in the Methow Valley: Over $2 million will be allocated to the creation of a water bank in the Methow Valley. While this came out of last legislative session, it is in the budget this year.

A Statewide Bill we’re excited about:

Outdoor Education for All (HB 2078)

This bill will make funds available to school districts to enable all 5th and 6th graders to have access to overnight outdoor education experiences. These experiences are vital for building the next generation of citizens and leaders who appreciate the environment around them and are willing to advocate on behalf of it.

Thank Yous:

Call or email Senator Hawkins and Representatives Goehner and Steele to thank them for supporting the following bills that the MVCCAF endorsed.

Senator Brad Hawkins  Phone:  360-786-7622.  Email:  [email protected]

Hello, my name is _______ .  I live in _______.  Thank you for Championing SB 5868 and for supporting, HB1644, SSB5961, E2SHB 1799, and SHB 1753 during this year’s legislative session. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Representative Keith Goehner .Phone:  509-665-0386. Email: [email protected].

Hello, my name is _____.  I live in _______.  Thank you for supporting SB 5868, HB1644, SSB5961, 2SHB1812, and SHB 1753 during this year’s legislative session. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Representative Mike Steele. Phone:  509-782-3436.  Email: [email protected].

Hello, my name is _____.  I live in _______.  Thank you for supporting SB 5868, HB1644, SSB5961, 2SHB1812, and SHB 1753 during this year’s legislative session. Your support is greatly appreciated!