Washington State House Democrats


Jeff Morris Legislative Update: Week 4

Dear Friends,

We’re just starting week four of our legislative session here in Olympia, which puts us just about a quarter of the way through the scheduled 105-day regular session. This week I wanted to give you a sense of what I’m working on in addition to education funding, mental health care, and job creation.

How your electric vehicle and PV solar system will work together

Smart technology on our electric grid is appearing all around us. While talked about for sometime, the reality is the smart grid is at your fingertips today. What is lagging is your utility or other private business’ planning on how to make them work together.

If left to an unplanned market-driven and organic adoption rate – meaning the utility simply reacts to your smart grid purchases – as rate payers you will be forced to purchase the most expensive solutions to accommodate your consumer choices.

I have introduced HB 1233, which provides a pathway for our state’s utilities to find the least expensive route for our customer choices. It is called Distribution Energy Resource Planning (DER).

Do you want to pay for your neighbor’s Tesla Electric Vehicle as part of your electric rates? Should you pay for your neighbor’s solar energy system in your electric rates?  If planned for together you wouldn’t have to pay the infrastructure investments in your rates; they would complement each other.

For example, when the wind blows at 2 a.m. and wind farms produce more electricity than we need, your utility would turn electric car chargers on. Or, instead of charging your electric vehicle at home, you would charge your vehicle at work where there might be a community Solar Garden that generates the bulk of its electricity between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

These complementary deployments make our electric grid more efficient, needing fewer capital investment to insure reliability.

DER planning basically creates locational values that tell all of us where smart grid investments benefit us the most.

How do invasive technologies impact your privacy?

Unmanned aircraft (UA), often referred to as drones, are aircraft without a human pilot on board. The flight is controlled either autonomously by computers, or under remote control by a pilot. UA are gaining in popularity; however, with that popularity your privacy could be at risk. UA are used not only for recreational use, but for commercial and government purposes. But, there are no Washington state laws that specifically regulate UA.

I have introduced a bill this session that addresses your privacy concerning drones.drone

The proposed substitute to HB 1049 would create a prohibition on launching an unmanned aircraft that collects personal information through an active sensing device, unless the federal government has provided specific federal authorization and if the aircraft is not clearly and prominently labeled with the name and phone number of the owner and operator. It would also create a prohibition on operating an unmanned aircraft with an active sensing device over real property, without the consent of the property owner or occupant, unless the federal government has provided specific federal authorization. This would not apply to property owned or occupied by a public agency.

Biometric data: Technology allowing companies to collect biometric data is not limited to science fiction – iris scans, facial recognition, and voice recognition technologies already exist, and their use is growing in the commercial and retail industries. I’ve introduced legislation (HB 1493) to establish regulations and limitations on how this information could be collected and used in the future.

Blanchard Mountain Telephone Town Hall

Representative Kris Lytton and I will be holding a Telephone Town Hall at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, concerning the future of Blanchard Mountain.

This will be your opportunity to hear where we are now in the process and to ask questions. We will be calling out to quite a few people in the 40th legislative district. If you would like to dial in directly, please call 877-229-8493 and use the following code: 116359.

Thank you once again for taking an interest in what is happening down here in Olympia. I will keep in touch with periodic updates throughout the legislative session. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact my office and speak with my legislative aide, Kim O’Farrell, at 360-786-7970.

It’s an honor to serve you in the 40th District. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jeff Morris