Week 8 | Bills from Innovation, Community & Economic Development, and Veterans

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s week eight of the legislative session—and we’re halfway through! This week, we’re on the House Floor voting on bills every day. Only bills that have already passed out of their policy committee and fiscal committee will be moving forward for floor consideration.  

As Chair of the House Innovation, Community & Economic Development, & Veterans Committee, I’ve been working alongside my colleagues on community investment programs, technological innovation, small business support, telecommunications and broadband, and emergency preparedness, response, and resiliency. We understand that historically, voices of overburdened communities have been excluded from the legislative process. It is our job in the Innovation, Community and Economic Development, and Veterans Committee, and the Legislature as a whole, to connect with these communities, amplify these voices, and prioritize policy and funding to address their needs, to build a healthier, happier, safer future for all in Washington.  

Here is a look at some of the legislation that we’ve worked on in this committee:  


House Bill 1746 develops a state broadband map for Washington’s 5-year Action Plan and Digital Equity Plan, identifying areas that are unserved or underserved with broadband. Washington State is expected to receive $900 million over five years to help us build our state’s broadband infrastructure—this is a once-in-a-lifetime investment, and I am proud to sponsor legislation that will help us to actively prepare and build a framework for this money.  

House Bill 1258 strategically increases tourism to Washington state. State tourism promotes economic growth, job creation, and regenerative spending. Since its creation, the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority on which I serve has largely focused on supporting tourism in rural and underserved communities, and communities of color. This bill affirms our investments in statewide tourism marketing by increasing the level of funding while the industry matches every dollar we invest – a valuable support without raising new taxes. 

House Bill 1009 establishes requirements for certain state agencies and licensing authorities related to the professional licensing and employment of military spouses and allows a military spouse to terminate an employment contract without penalty after their service member spouse receives orders for a permanent change of station.  This bill will make it easier for military spouses to pursue new employment opportunities as soon as the family relocates into our state, while tackling our statewide workforce crisis by removing barriers from entry into the workforce. This bill has already passed out of the House and is being considered in the Senate.  

House Bill 1012 requires the Military Department to develop and implement and Extreme Weather Response Grant Program to assist with the costs of responding to community needs during periods of extremely hot or cold weather or poor air quality due to wildfire smoke. Taking care of residents during extreme weather is a public safety and equity issue. This bill provides small, emergency grants for cooling or warming centers, drinking water or other life-saving measures for communities across the state. As extreme weather events continue to occur, we must provide adequate services for our most vulnerable populations.  

House Bill 1288 requires the Director of the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs to appoint a director of nursing services for each state veterans’ home and repeals statutes relating to the Colony of the State Soldiers’ Home. It is important to ensure that veterans have access to services that they need—this bill creates stronger protections for veterans and allows Department of Veterans Affairs to serve them better by recruiting and retaining adequate workforce.  

House Bill 1384 allows state parks to examine how to improve its existing free pass system and provides a free pass to Washington veterans that receive Washington Basic Food benefits. After retirement from the military, there are many unknowns related to housing education, work, medical needs, and family support. Exposure to nature improves cognitive benefits, memory, stress levels, and mental and physical well-being. Washington has 550,000 veterans in the state, and increasing access to state parks gives them a chance to get outside, reconnect with peers, and increase overall health and fitness.   

House Bill 1480 requires the energy shortage and emergency contingency plans prepared by the Department of Commerce to include analysis of human, natural, and cybersecurity hazards. An all-hazards planning approach is necessary in state emergency preparedness—this bill will update and ensure resilient operations of the state’s energy security plan, safeguarding our emergency energy and to comply with new federal requirements.  

House Bill 1743 creates the Washington Employee Ownership Program at the Department of Commerce to support efforts of businesses considering a sale to an employee structure. This bill significantly increases opportunities for employees to buy businesses from their employers through tax incentives and technical support. As business owners age, this helps to ensure the success and longevity of small businesses, while providing security and opportunity for employees to build equity in the local business.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to read. You can follow along here as these bills advance, and you can tune in live to House floor action live on TVW. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to share your feedback and advocacy—I really appreciate it.   


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Rep. Cindy Ryu