2024 State Legislative Roundup

In early March, the Legislature wrapped up a short, two-month session. The MVCC Action Fund sent out several action alerts during the session and saw a few priority bills pass that will clean up our air and help adapt us to the changing climate. The legislature also followed up on its climate commitment by funding an estimated $1.2 billion for climate action and healthy communities generated by the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) which was passed last legislative session.


Several important bills that did pass included:

HB 1368-100% Clean School Buses This bill sets the state on a path to zero-emission school buses! It requires that school districts and bus contractors purchase only zero emission school buses once buying, fueling and maintaining these buses becomes cheaper than diesel buses. This shift is expected to happen within five years. This coincides with Resilient Methow helping with a feasibility study with the Methow Valley School District that looks at the transition to electric school buses for the district and the vocational training opportunities it could bring to students.

SHB 1012 – The Extreme Weather Protection Act.   This Act will allow Washington to develop and implement an extreme weather response grant program. This grant program can be applied to by local governments and tribes to help meet community needs during periods of extremely hot or cold weather or hazardous air quality due to wildfire smoke. This Act will be essential in allowing Okanogan County to help its most vulnerable populations during the episodes of extreme weather that will come with climate change.

 HB 1391 – Clean Buildings “Navigator” Program.  Funding for electrifying homes is available under the federal Inflation Reduction Act as well as Washington’s Climate Commitment Act.  The “Navigator” program is a tool that will inform homeowners and renters about how to easily access such funding. Although HB 1391 did not pass, lawmakers did, however, vote to include $3.5 million in the budget to implement the “Navigator” program.  Also, Resilient Methow, a project of the Methow Valley Citizens Council, has developed an “Electrifying Your Home– A Toolkit,” that provides similar information that the “Navigator” program is intended to provide. 

The Climate Commitment Act has funded many projects and programs that are improving the lives of Washingtonians. This includes $45 million to improve air quality and decarbonize schools, $50 million for community-based development of climate solutions, $55 million for climate smart multi-family affordable housing projects, $25 million for the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and $15 million to store and sequester carbon in forests and more! 

Federal Funding is Flowing to Washington – Clean energy funds are flowing from the federal government to Washington under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. The 2024 legislature allocated $11 million for both state–level and external grant writing assistance and general support, $25 million to leverage federal funding for projects that provide hig –wage clean energy jobs, and $2.5 million for the state to create a funding portal and to conduct public outreach.

Applications for the American Climate Corps open in April, 2024.  Beginning in April, Americans can finally apply for the long–awaited American Climate Corps.  The program, modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, will place people in a number of positions related to climate change. This is an opportunity to train and employ the next generation of environmentalists in the Methow Valley and in the Okanogan Valley.

Efforts to improve the state recycling system (the WRAP Act) weren't successful during this session but will be pursued in the next session.