Telephone Town Hall Recap
Thank you for joining our telephone town hall this past Tuesday and making it a success. At one point there were over 1,600 of you on the call! Your questions were thoughtful and engaging, resulting in an interesting and lively meeting. Your interest and participation are critical to making our community stronger and more connected, and we are grateful for your continued support.
If you were not able to join us, the audio file has been uploaded and is available here, or by clicking on the image below.
Quick Update on Bills
With the end of session quickly approaching, lots of things have happened this week especially since Wednesday was the last day for policy committees to vote on opposite chamber bills. Now, fiscal committees are hearing scores of bills and have until next Tuesday to get them out. After that, we go back to all-day floor action.
There’s good and not so good news to report as we enter the last stretch of this legislative session.
Let’s start with the good
My drought preparedness bill, HB 1138, passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks unanimously last week and is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Ways & Means today. This is an important measure that will increase funding but also improve and speed up the state’s response when and where we get hit by a drought.
While my HB 1711 did not pass, its companion, SB 5689 is on the House floor calendar. This legislation provides a sales and use tax exemption for labor and materials used in the construction of an Internet and telecommunications infrastructure project, which will support rural populations and isolated communities.
HB 1789, the Carbon Credits bill, was passed out of the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology earlier this week, and it was heard in Senate Ways & Means yesterday. The original measure would enable the Department of Natural Resources to tap into new revenue streams to boost local communities, increase the pace and scale of reforestation, improve forest health, and aid in conservation and habitat restoration on public lands, all of which are critical to keeping working forests working, supporting rural jobs and local economies, and meeting the state’s climate goals. I encourage you to read the latest news story on this issue, by Paul Gottlieb for the Peninsula Daily News, which sums up the changes the bill has undergone, providing an accurate picture of how things stand now.
The not so good news is that HB 1010, the crab bill, has once again died in the Senate. This is disappointing because I truly believe it could have made a difference in our coastal communities. We still have another chance, since all the bills that don’t make it this year get automatically reintroduced the second year of the biennium. So, we’ll continue fighting the good fight next session.
Operating, Capital, and Transportation Budgets
All three House budgets were released this past Monday.
- Washington’s operating budget is our state’s largest source of funding for many of the programs and services that working families rely on every day. These funds are invested directly back into our communities, which supports the economy.
- The capital budget generally provides funding support for buildings and physical infrastructure projects throughout the state. Those can include investments in affordable housing and shelter for families, broadband and water system upgrades, K-12 school improvements, and more.
- The transportation budget provides funding to maintain Washington state’s transportation infrastructure, support jobs, and address key traffic and transportation problems that affect Washingtonians all over the state.
Natural Resources Highlights
These are some of the investments we are making in natural resource protection and projects in this biennial operating budget, aptly named “Resilient Washington”:
Washington Hospitality Grants
In the 2022 supplemental budget, the Legislature invested in our state’s recovery, including strategic investments in small businesses struggling in the wake of the pandemic.
One such investment is the Washington Hospitality Grant, which offers financial relief for the hospitality industry through one-time grants for eligible restaurants, hotels, motels, and other small hospitality industry businesses in WA.
Those grants are now open, so apply today! Head to wahospitalitygrants.com to see if you’re eligible.
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. Hearing from you helps me represent you better. I hope you continue sharing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions with me.
Legislative Assistant: Brady.Hood@leg.wa.gov