Friends and neighbors,
It’s great to be back in Olympia for session. Working alongside my colleagues and meeting with folks who visit makes for productive and very fast-paced days. But you don’t have to come to our state capital if you want to testify in a hearing or if you want to meet with me to share your concerns. For information on testifying remotely, click here. And to connect with my office send an email to my Legislative Assistant, Brady.Hood@leg.wa.gov.
VOLUNTARY Riparian Management Zones
A recent story in The Reflector discussed the push for improving salmon habitat, which will, in turn, strengthen our Orca population. I couldn’t agree more.
In my previous newsletter I wrote about my salmon recovery bill, which was a good idea, but wasn’t going to necessarily deliver the results we wanted to see, so I tweaked it and just a few days ago introduced HB 1720. This revised, more thought-out version will protect and restore riparian areas by establishing a completely voluntary, regionally focused riparian grant program designed to improve the ecological functions of critical riparian management zones. Development and implementation of the grant program to fund these zones will fall under the responsibility of the Washington State Conservation Commission.
I’ve scheduled a hearing for this legislation in my committee on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m. You can watch it on TVW here, and if you have an opinion to share, sign up to testify either in person or from your home over the internet.
Turning the Tide on our Housing Crisis
The housing affordability and security crisis is affecting every city and county in Washington. Residents in eastern and western Washington alike face a housing shortage, skyrocketing rents, and unstable living conditions.
There isn’t one magic solution to these problems. It is critical that we tackle this issue in three ways:
Washington’s housing supply is short over 140,000 units. We need more homes of all types, so everyone has an affordable place to live. Without more units, we will never fix the housing crisis.
Escalating rental rates and other factors put tenant housing at risk. We need to keep people housed so they don’t become homeless, displaced, or forced out of their communities. It is more efficient and less costly to keep people housed than it is to try to help them get out of homelessness.
Even if we address housing supply and stability, some people will still be unable to afford rent. We need to increase our investment in deeply affordable housing so that every single Washingtonian has a roof over their head. Everyone deserves the dignity of a safe place to call home.
AND HERE’S HOW:
We’re working on a comprehensive package of housing bills to ensure a viable path toward a solution, it includes:
HB 1343, which provides local governments with options to grant relief and preserve affordable housing in their communities. This creates affordable, healthy, high-quality rental housing opportunities for very low-income households when there are insufficient options available.
HB 1110, which specifically addresses the missing middle housing supply.
Working Families Tax Credit
The application for the Working Families Tax Credit is now open! This new program for Washington workers will provide payments of up to $1,200 to low-to-moderate income individuals and families. The amounts are based on income level and the number of qualifying children (if any).
This program will help us stimulate local economies, promote racial equity, and provide the financial stability Washington families need right now. To find more information and see if you qualify, visit WorkingFamiliesCredit.wa.gov
The Crab Saga Continues
In my last newsletter I told you about my legislation to ensure that you and I, and the vast majority of Washingtonians who enjoy crab meat can get to have it on our tables and our tummies when we want it.
I am happy to report that HB 1010 is moving right along the legislative process.
It was heard in the Appropriations Committee on January 30, and was voted out of committee unanimously this past Thursday!
Its next stop is the Rules Committee and then on to the House Floor for a full vote, after which we’ll put it in a nice box and ship it across the rotunda to the Senate.
You can’t say life isn’t exciting around here!
Thank you for taking the time to read this report. If you need additional information or just want to tell me what’s on your mind, please contact my office.
LEG 132B | PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 786-7916 | Toll-Free Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 | 1-800-635-9993 (TTY)
Legislative Assistant: Brady.Hood@leg.wa.gov
Agriculture and Natural Resources (Chair)
Consumer Protection & Business