Dear friends and neighbors,
I’m reaching out with an update, and to let you know that this will be my last newsletter for a while. During election years we have additional restrictions for state resources to help ensure that they aren’t used for campaign related activities, this year those begin this coming Monday, May 16th, and continue through the November election.
While I won’t be sending newsletters, you’re always able to reach out to me with any questions or concerns, or for help navigating state resources.
I sent out a postcard earlier this week talking about some of our legislative work this biennium, if you didn’t see it in your mailbox, I’ve got a copy below as well.
– Rep. Mia Gregerson
Earlier this year we wrapped up the 2022 Legislative Session, and with that the 2021-2022 biennium. We’ve done a remarkable amount of work over the last two years, from helping our state respond to a global pandemic to building a better future for all Washingtonians. We’ve also focused on equity more than ever before – how does our work help those who need it most? How does it help those who are normally left behind? With those questions in mind, I’m particularly proud of what we were able to accomplish.
Over the last two years we have implemented transformative climate justice legislation, leveraged federal funding to invest in Washington families, begun to right our upsidedown tax code, and so much more.
It is an honor to serve you in this position, and I want to thank the many of you who have called, emailed, scheduled meetings, or testified over the last two years. You have helped to make these historic investments and legislative proposals possible.
Combating the Climate Crisis
Washington state is already experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis, from devastating wildfires and wildfire smoke to historic heat waves and drought. Marginalized communities have been hit the hardest by these impacts, and we’ve made fixing these inequities a priority in our response to the climate crisis.
By passing a clean fuel standard and capping greenhouse gas emissions we’re on track to be net-zero emissions in Washington state by 2050. We’ll also be using the money raised to invest in low-income communities, communities of color, public transit, and more.
This year we worked to address some of our state’s other emissions sources, passing legislation to ensure new buildings are more sustainable (HB 1770), and provide options for existing buildings to reduce their emissions (SB 5722). We’ve also worked to minimize sources of methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gases (HB 1663 & HB 1799). I’m also proud to have sponsored legislation that will help hold oil companies accountable for spills in our state, so taxpayers aren’t stuck with the bill for cleanup (HB 1691).
Bridging the Digital Divide
Internet access has become a critical part of our day-to-day life. Affordable, reliable, and safe access shouldn’t be determined by your income, age, location, or language. The digital divide is a three-pronged problem, and we’ve worked hard over the last two years to increase broadband access, make devices more affordable, and give people the tools and education they need to safely take advantage of the digital world.
Last session I passed legislation to help make sure our public-school students and staff have access to the computers and digital devices they need, and the training to take full advantage of those devices (HB 1365). We also established a statewide Office of Cybersecurity to help protect the information that Washington residents have trusted to our many state agencies and programs (SB 5432).
This year I was proud to pass the Digital Equity Act (HB 1723), which will help support community efforts to increase digital access, from broadband to devices to training. The new law will also help establish regionally informed digital equity plans, giving different agencies, businesses, and organizations across our state support in planning how to meet the specific needs of their community.
Addressing the Housing Crisis
Washington state has a housing crisis. While there’s no single answer, over the last two years we’ve passed new policies and made historic investments in getting people housed, keeping people housed, and building new housing. Last year I sponsored legislation to help provide relocation assistance for mobile home park tenants facing closures. We also passed legislation to establish just cause for evictions (HB 1236) and provide legal assistance for low-income tenants facing eviction (SB 5160).
This year we passed legislation to ensure that people facing behavioral health crises can get housing either as part of discharge from inpatient care (HB 1860), or as part of their medical care if they’re also facing chronic homelessness (HB 1866).
We also added to the historic investments we made in 2021, including an additional $160 million for utility assistance, $45 million for rental assistance, $55 million for homelessness provider workforce stipends, $27 million for landlord mitigation efforts, and a record $500 million to our state Capital Budget to help meet housing supply needs.