Making Broadband More Accessible & Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft

Dear Neighbors,  

We are 25% of the way through the 2023 Legislative Session, and I am honored to return as your 32nd Legislative District representative. This year, I have once again been appointed by my colleagues to chair the Innovation, Community & Economic Development, & Veterans committee. I have invested considerable time and effort over the last few years to understand the variety of opinions stakeholders have on the subject matters under consideration by this committee. I’ll continue to champion initiatives to ensure that broadband is available, accessible, and affordable for Washingtonians.   


I will additionally serve on the House Consumer Protection & Business and Appropriations committees. This year, my colleagues and I are in Olympia, working in-person. I look forward to seeing many of you virtually and face-to-face, and hearing your stories, ideas, feedback, and legislative priorities for our community, district, and state.  Virtual testimonies are still an option, so please be sure to follow progression of bills that you’re passionate about.  

Making broadband available, accessible, and affordable

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the already-existent necessity of broadband as a public utility. Individuals in our state need broadband to access work, school, healthcare, the legislative process, information, and social connection. There are three main conditions to broadband infrastructure development in our state: It must be available, accessible, and affordable. First, physical broadband infrastructure must provide availability to all Washingtonians, especially in rural and underserved areas. Once broadband is available, it must be accessible with appropriate devices and technological literacy, so that Washingtonians have increasing access to work, education, services, entertainment and social connections. Finally, it must be affordable, both in month-to-month recurring costs of internet connections and the right to repair the devices we use.  

From the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), WA State is expected to receive $900M over 5 years to help us build out our state’s broadband infrastructure. In order to best implement this once-in-a-lifetime investment and actively prepare for this money by laying out a foundation to use it most effectively, I am sponsoring HB 1746.  By developing a state broadband map for the state’s 5-year Action Plan and a Digital Equity Plan, we will more accurately identify which addresses are unserved or underserved with broadband while avoiding over-building. 


Catalytic converter theft prevention

23 Law enforcement agencies across the state have reported more than 8,000 police reports filed on catalytic converter theft from January to August last year. Catalytic converters are being stolen at increasingly higher rates due to their valuable metals, such as rhodium, platinum and palladium. Each loss can cost upward of $1,000 to fix and leaves victims without functioning vehicles for work, childcare, or other daily routines.  These thefts disproportionately impact those who can least afford the losses.  There are proposals in Congress, with the introductions of the Bipartisan PART Act (H.R. 621/S. 154). 

In the meantime, last year I successfully passed a bipartisan legislation HB 1815 to create a state catalytic converter work group to deter catalytic converter thefts. The Governor signed this bill into law on March 30th, 2022.  

This year, I’m building upon the foundation of the work group’s recommendations. I am sponsoring a budget proviso to increase inspections of scrap metal businesses to target metal thefts. A second proviso will develop, implement, and operate an ongoing electronic statewide catalytic converter tracking database program which will aid law enforcement in identifying unmarked detached catalytic converters. I am also working on a bill with several stakeholders to clearly and permanently mark VIN on catalytic converters and incorporate other recommendations from the work group.  

It will take more than these two Legislative Sessions to tackle the widespread and multi-state problem. I am committed to working hard to make sure law enforcement and consumers have the resources and protections to deter and prevent theft of catalytic converters from our vehicles and businesses.  

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It is an honor to continue to represent the 32nd Legislative District. I look forward to hearing your stories, priorities, advocacy, and feedback throughout the 2023 Legislative Session—please don’t hesitate to send me an email or give my office a call at (360) 786-7880.  


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Rep. Cindy Ryu