Week of January 10th Legislative Update
January 10, 2022
Today marks the first day of the 2022 legislative session and Futurewise is here to win. We’re here to finish what we started in 2021, as well as highlight some new priorities for you to follow. It’s a short session this year – just 60 days – so there’s no time to waste. Read on for what we’re working on and how you can get involved.
Washington Can’t Wait Campaign Priorities
HB 1099 – GMA Climate Bill
Our top priority in 2022 is passing HB 1099, our bill to add a climate element to the GMA. As you might remember, we very nearly got this bill across the finish line last spring. While we didn’t pass it, we did secure funding for the Department of Commerce to lay the groundwork for passage this year. Here’s where we’re at heading into session:
- HB 1099 would add a climate element to the Growth Management Act, ensuring that Washington’s biggest counties are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and that everywhere in the state is planning for climate resiliency.
- We’ve added some new critical environmental justice provisions to the bill. HB 1099 will build on the HEAL Act passed last year, namely that the Department of Commerce will use the HEAL Act screening in drafting the planning requirements and ensuring that local jurisdictions will prioritize marginalized communities (as defined in HEAL Act) as places to improve air quality.
- HB 1099 will start on the House floor, before heading to the Senate. Once in the Senate, we expect an easier path than last year, with the bill working its way through the Housing and Local Government and Ways and Means Committees before reaching the Senate floor.
We’re feeling optimistic about our chances on this bill, but we can’t take anything for granted. We need your help to make sure Washington lawmakers know that this bill is a priority to pass in 2022. If we can pass HB 1099 this session, we can still make sure that the next round of comprehensive plan updates for King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties include planning for climate.
SB 5042 – GMA Sprawl Loophole Bill
Our other top campaign priority is passing SB 5042 to close the GMA sprawl loophole (also known as the vesting loophole). We’ve been working on this bill for 15 years and 2022 is the year we pass it!
Need a refresher on this bill? Check out our Wonkabout Washington series, parts 1, and 2 in the Urbanist for a long version or read on for the highlights:
- SB 5042 would fix a loophole in the Growth Management Act that allows harmful and unnecessary suburban sprawl to occur on valuable farms, forests, and critical habitat around the state.
- This loophole undermines the intent of the GMA by allowing counties to subvert the Growth Management Hearings Board appeals process that oversees compliance with the Act, by issuing permits or having cities annex land before the appeals process is complete.
- SB5042 is not just an environmental priority, but also a fiscal priority. Development built through the existing loopholes put a financial strain on jurisdictions to provide adequate infrastructure, facilities, and services to new developments that weren’t planned for.
We need all hands on deck to pass this bill, especially folks who live in districts with environmentally minded legislators. This bill faces steep opposition from the Building Industry Association of Washington and the realtors who have a vested interest in advancing sprawling developments. We need to see leadership from progressive legislators who can champion closing this loophole.
Upcoming Events to Support HB 1099 and SB 5042
Futurewise is hosting two events and text banks in the coming weeks in support of HB 1099 and SB 5042. Join us!
Help Futurewise Add Climate to the GMA
When: Wednesday, January 26th, 6 – 7:30 PM
Help Futurewise Close the GMA Sprawl Loophole
When: Wednesday, January 19th, 6 – 7:30 PM
Other GMA Priority Bills
It’s a big year for the GMA! We want to highlight two other big GMA bills that you should keep an eye on this session.
Lorraine Loomis Act
The Lorraine Loomis Act, named for Swinomish elder and salmon activist Lorraine Loomis, is a bold bill that aims to recover salmon stocks, return to harvestable levels of salmon and restore riparian ecosystems. This bill is led by tribes across Washington, along with Governor Jay Inslee. The bill would ensure that riparian (meaning related to rivers) areas in unincorporated Urban Growth Areas are protected from development, helping to improve salmon habitat across the state. The bill would also add a “Salmon Recovery Goal” to the GMA.
Homes4WA is a set of bills proposed by Senator Mona Das and Representative Jessica Bateman that aims to create additional middle housing near transit and in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing. In cities over 10,000 residents, the zoning would allow duplexes in all residential zones and in cities over 20,000, the bill would allow for four-plexes. Anywhere in a city that is identified as a “high-capacity” transit zone (within half a mile of a major transit stop) would allow even greater density like six-plexes or courtyard apartments.
A Final Note on Budget
We’ve had some good news from the governor’s office on the budget front. Currently the supplemental budget has $19.3 million earmarked for GMA planning, including funding for HB 1099 and HB 1220 (our housing justice GMA update passed last year). That’s great news! We’re still advocating for additional funding for HB 1220 that would fund community-based organizations to participate in the planning process. Overall though we are off to a great start on the numbers front.
After a long interim period, we are very excited to back to work with you all! Thank you in advance for your partnership and advocacy on these critical issues.