Futurewise 2018 Legislative Priorities

January 9, 2018

This week kicks off the 2018 Washington State Legislative Session, and Futurewise will be present in Olympia working to serve the people of our state by advocating for important land-use and environmental issues.

This year, our proactive list of legislative priorities includes:

Sustainable Water Management (Hirst) - Homeowners, fish, and farms need reliable clean water, and it is time for our state to address its water management system, which has been broken for years. With careful planning and resources, we can implement laws that prevent the loss of a finite resource.  Click here for our talking points on this issue.

  • Affordable Housing - At the top of the list for action on addressing the affordable housing crisis in Washington State are giving public agencies the ability to surplus property for less than fair market value when utilized for affordable housing, and extending the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) for another 15 years.
  • Vesting - Every year we work to overhaul our state's antiquated vesting laws, which currently allow development permits to sit on the shelf, sheltered from regulatory updates that enhance and protect the environment.  Last year, the House passed this version of a vesting bill that we will be working to support again this year.
  • Carbon Tax - As the Governor's Office works to pass a carbon tax this year, we will be supporting the effort, and working to ensure that revenue is set aside for municipal land-use planning that addresses climate change adaptation and mitigation.

In addition to those priorities, we will also be working to support a coalition of our environmental partners, including the Environmental Priorities Coalition, on the following issues:

  • Act on Climate - We are already seeing the impacts of climate change, and the fossil fuel industry is dedicated to undoing years of progress. As a state, we can lead in climate action by charging polluters and reinvesting those dollars in clean energy and protecting natural resources. This session, we have the opportunity to make progress and discover what is possible when we prioritize climate-friendly solutions.
  • Action for Toxic-Free Food Packaging - Scientists have identified toxic chemicals used in popcorn, fast food, bakery wrappers, and a variety of other food packages. This raises serious concerns as these chemicals are already polluting our water bodies and Puget Sound. Safer alternatives are available and the Healthy Food Packaging Act addresses this dangerous threat to our health and environment.
  • Oil Spill Prevention Act - Our state is falling behind in applying preventative measures to protect Puget Sound, the Salish Sea, and shared waters against oil spills. Washington communities are vulnerable to oil spills from pipelines, trains, and vessels. The dangers will only grow, and our ability to clean up will only decline. The Oil Spill Prevention Act ensures an investment the safety of our state.  
  • Phasing Out Atlantic Salmon Net Pens - There is strong evidence that Atlantic Salmon pose a significant risk to Puget Sound, as well as Washington's rivers and streams - a risk that far outweighs the revenue or associated job losses.  Our coalition partners are working to phase out the current leases for non-native net pens.

Watch this space for updates on our progress this year!