Even though the legislative session ended almost two months ago, it’s a busy time and we still have a lot to share!
Response to Friday Harbor fire
Last month, I took a visit out to Friday Harbor to meet with Mayor Jackson and his staff, first responders, and the business community to listen to their needs around the devastating fire the community recently experienced. The first responders did amazing work, and we are grateful to them for quickly controlling the disaster and ensuring that no one was hurt.
Our discussion focused on how ferry traffic flow might be improved, supporting the impacted businesses and all of their neighbors, and what the state might do in the future to support rural communities installing fire suppression systems in older buildings. We’re committed to helping the community recover and rebuild.
Did you miss the town hall? You can still find us on YouTube
Alongside Rep. Lekanoff and Sen. Lovelett, we held a post-session virtual town hall. If you couldn’t join us in real time, you can watch it online by clicking here. We answered a wide range of questions – including ferries, Highway 20 in Anacortes, mental health, the growth management act, and more.
Planning for next year
It’s never too early to start planning for the future. I have a number of ideas and projects to keep me busy so that we can come into the next legislative session ready to roll.
I’m excited to continue to find ways to decarbonize Washington’s buildings; we got some important bills through this year, but there will be more to do next year.
I’m exploring how we can provide funding to help historic buildings in rural areas add fire suppression systems. I’m looking to find ways to reduce barriers that are limiting condominiums so that more multifamily buildings can have the option for homeownership. I’m also working on tax reform, including updating Washington’s estate tax, providing a utility tax incentive for clean hydrogen, and a property tax accounting correction for big clean energy projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about how climate policy fared this session. The short answer is we made some big steps, and there’s more to do. Our biggest climate win this session was passing the historic Move Ahead Washington transportation package, which invests in everything from zero-emissions ferry technology, to bicycle and pedestrian grants, to electric vehicle charging stations, to transit. We also passed legislation to make sure our appliances are more energy efficient, and to capture methane released from landfills. I was disappointed that some important bills on building decarbonization and local government climate action didn’t get through, but I’m committed to staying engaged.
We’ve also heard many questions about the economic recovery. Our small and Main Street businesses were hit hard during the pandemic, so we provided support by increasing the small business B&O tax credit and investing in help for our hospitality businesses.
Lots of people are also talking about mental health and well-being. This last year we made significant investments to support alternative response for non-violent emergency calls to get folks the help they need and focus our first responders where they can be most effective. We’re building up the recovery navigator program to ensure that people who are getting back on their feet are able to get help using the systems that are there to help. We’ve invested hundreds of millions to build new shelters and permanent supportive housing. We also made sure our state supports the mental health and well-being of our children with more school nurses, counselors, and social workers in our K-12 schools.
Election Year Communication Restrictions
Each election year, there are certain restrictions on legislator communications to prevent the use of state resources for election purposes. These restrictions include a freeze on my legislative Facebook account and legislative webpage, meaning these pages cannot be updated beginning May 16, 2022, until after the general election in November.
But I’m still here to help! Please continue to reach out to me or my office directly by clicking here or calling (360) 786-7970 if there’s anything I can do to assist you or your family.
Rep. Alex Ramel