Legislative Session 2022
It's still too early to know for sure what bills will be presented or what the priorities of the various environmental groups will be. As we get information, we will add it here. Here are some possibilities we've heard about so far.
Adding Climate to the Growth Management Act (HB 1099)
HB 1099 didn't pass last year but there are plans to reintroduce it. It will start in the House Rules Committee, go to the floor, and so the Senate should have a fair amount of time to consider it. In 2021, this bill had a funding portion attached, for local jurisdiction to hire additional planners, but the funding portion was actually passed in 2021 as a budget proviso, so it is expected that the funding will be removed. That would remove the need for it to be approved by a Finance Committee, which would improve its chances of passing.
The Dept. of Commerce is working on the budget proviso that was passed in 2021 and it is hiring staff, and will create something like the K4C Climate Toolkit, but for the whole state. So there will be a list of climate actions that local jurisdictions can choose from depending on their local situation, in order to meet their new obligations if HB 1099 passes and the GMA is revised. Larger cities will have to do more than smaller cities. Commerce will hear public input on the development of the toolkit and what should be in it (e.g., examples are inclusion of housing density, transit-oriented development, building electrification, and other greenhouse gas reduction policies).
Futurewise will have a campaiign kickoff Sept 30 4:30-5:30pm, and will have a week of action in the first week of Dec. to get folks to lobby their reps. They will be running a campaign similar to last year and requesting people to write letters to the editor, op eds, testify in meetings, etc.
Closing the GMA Loophole (SB 5042)
This loophole allows development outside urban growth boundaries by taking advantage of the appeals process. The county can allow development (e.g. to meet growth goals), and then groups can appeal to the GMA board (e.g., because its outside the urban growth boundary). While the appeal is being heard, the county can issue building permits, and even if the appeal is upheld, the building permits are grandfathered in.
Futurewise will have a webinar on this Sept. 23 at 10:30am.
Affordable Housing Next Steps
Last year, the Legislature passed HB 1220, which was a huge step forward, but there was no funding for local jurisdictions to implement it. So there is a need for the Legislature to secure funding for local jurisdictions so they can afford to plan for affordable housing.
More generally, the State should have some funding source set aside so that each individual planning task does not have to have a separate funding bill to go with it.
California and Oregon both passed statewide rezoning. Might Washington be next? It's not clear if there are any bills being moved forward on this.