Washington Can't Wait Campaign: Updating the GMA for Today's Challenges

Futurewise's Washington Can’t Wait Campaign is an initiative to fight for action on climate change, environmental justice, and affordable housing by passing the biggest changes to the Growth Management Act in three decades during the 2021 legislative session.

Fighting sprawl to protect our communities and our climate

We’re running out of time to take action on climate change. By making our urban areas affordable and accessible to all through bold affordable housing policy, preventing disproportionate impacts of local pollution on communities of color, and ensuring that cities and counties are planning for climate change, we have the opportunity to transform the lives of Washingtonians and the natural environment around us.

Why now

We have a brief window to make big changes to the GMA before Washington’s cities and counties embark on their next comprehensive plan updates, which will lock in policy for the next decade. 

We cannot wait another ten years to tackle climate change, environmental justice, and the housing affordability crisis.

That’s why Washington Can’t Wait is working with community members, partners, and legislators to update the GMA and ensure that cities and counties are planning for climate and housing while addressing environmental justice.

Our neighbors want the convenience of grocery stores and schools close to their homes. They want lots of choices in the kind of home they buy and that the neighborhoods they live in are free of pollution. And they really care about open space. They want to see farmland and mountain vistas – it’s why we are proud to call Washington home and why we are working to make this vision a reality for all Washingtonians. 

The Campaign: In Review

Housing Justice Passes the Senate

We are so incredibly proud to share that HB 1220 – our housing justice update to the GMA that prevents exclusionary policy statewide – passed the Washington State Legislature!

With a final vote count of 25-24 in the Senate, HB 1220 just squeaked through and this victory is a testament to the work of Futurewise supporters like you and all that you have done to see this bill to the finish line.

HB 1220 is a game-changing update to the GMA that will ensure that cities are planning for housing affordable to people at all income levels, that cities redress the impacts from historic racist housing policies, and that cities adequately plan for and allow homeless housing and shelters in a majority of zones.

Click here to send a thank-you tweet to your senators and representatives who voted yes on this bill!

Laying the Groundwork to Win Climate Justice Next Year

On the other hand, I’m disappointed to share that despite hundreds of emails and calls from supporters like you, HB 1099 did not make it this year, either as a standalone bill or as an amendment to HB1241, which died on the Senate floor.

You know that we can’t wait to plan for climate, and we especially can’t wait to make sure that Central Puget Sound counties are incorporating planning for climate change in their next round of comprehensive plan updates, which take effect in 2024.

That’s why we’re laying the groundwork in this year’s budget to pass a climate element to the GMA first thing in the 2022 session. We’re advocating for funding for the Department of Commerce to do all the scoping work for climate plans this year so that when (!) we pass a climate element next year, a bulk of the required work will already be done and King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties will be able to incorporate this important work into their 2024 comprehensive plans. 

Stay tuned over the next weeks and months to learn how you can help ensure this policy gets written into law in 2022! Sign up for updates at this link

Many thanks to all of our organizational partners for helping to make this a successful legislative session!

ID: A grid of organizational logos who have endorsed the WA Can't Wait campaign.