Legislative Update: Week of January 21

January 22, 2024

Happy Week 3 y'all! Things are cruising along in the Washington legislature this, both fortunately and unfortunately (rural development bills, I'm looking at you). You may have seen our numerous emails this week about the bad rural development bills, and even with the +4,600 emails we've sent to legislators this week, there's still some work to do to make it clear these bills cannot be allowed to pass. I will be watching Kill Bill to channel that energy for our upcoming week and lobby day.

Next week I'll be flooding this email with updates from our Jan 25 lobby day! Today, read more for updates on the rural development bills, transit-oriented development, rent stabilization, and some bills our friends at the Housing Development Consortium (HDC) have been working on.

Futurewise Action Alerts!

Protecting Rural Lands from Sprawl

Our rural lands are under threat. HB 2126 and SB 6029, which would basically allow second homes in rural areas, are threatening farmers' water supply, wildlife and salmon habitats, and increase planet-warming pollution. Check out our one-pager to learn more.

Unfortunately, HB 2126 was voted unanimously out of the House Housing Committee, and SB 6029 may get voted on next week by the Senate Local Government, Land Use, and Tribal Affairs committee.

It's time to turn up the pressure. If you haven't already, email your legislator right now to call on them to vote NO on HB 2126. We can prevent these bills from advancing if we make it clear that these bills would have extreme effects on our rural communities. If you've already emailed your legislator, forward the action to everyone you know so we can keep up the steady pressure.

Email your legislators to vote NO on HB 2126

Email your legislators to vote NO on SB 6029

Yellow Kill Bill meme reads: Kill the Bill Oppose HB 2126 Keep Rural Communities Rural

Rural Development Letters to the Editor

Already emailed your legislator like the awesome advocate you are? Fired up about protecting rural areas from development? I know I am! The next thing we can do to increase awareness and pressure is to channel that energy into writing Letters to the Editor. These are a great way to mobilize the public, and we can send any published letters directly to legislators.

Click the big red button below on a guide for writing letters to the editor (spoiler alert, it's REALLY EASY). Draft a short letter on why your legislators should oppose HB 2126 and SB 6029, and submit to your local paper. Email me (marcella@futurewise.org) with questions, and feel free to use talking points from our one-pager.

Letter to the editor guide

Blue and white Olympia Transit bus in downtown Olympia

Promoting Transit-oriented Development HB 2160/SB 6024

Success! HB 2160, which will allow dense housing near transit hubs, was voted out of the House Housing Committee on Monday. Shout out for the +500 emails we sent to the committee to vote yes. To celebrate, you can check out our new, shiny transit-oriented development one-pager!

Other good news, HB 2160 has been referred to the Capital Budget committee in the House, and is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday 1/25 at 1:30pm. You know what to do, let's get those PRO sign ins right away!

Sign in PRO for HB 2160

Rent Stabilization HB 2114/SB 5961

Another success! HB 2114, which will create a swath of protections for renters, was passed out of the House Housing Committee last Tuesday. Next stop-- House Appropriations Committee! Our friends at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA) have been pulling out all the organizing stops. You can check out their advocacy guide here.

Partner Spotlight Housing Development Consortium

Partner Spotlight: Housing Development Consortium

There's a lot of important issues being worked on during session, so we are excited to highlight the work of some partner organizations. This week, we're highlighting our friends at the Housing Development Consortium (HDC). Read on for their priorities and actions.

Affordable Homes Act (HB 2276/SB 6191)

This bill creates dedicated funding for affordable housing by reforming the Real Estate Transfer Tax. It will add an estimated over $200 million per biennium, to the Housing Trust Fund, Apple Health and Homes, developmental disabilities housing, and operations, maintenance and services for and affordable housing. Read more on fact sheet and/or Rep. Berg's one-pager. HB 2276 is scheduled for a hearing on next Thursday 1/25 at 4pm in the Senate Ways and Means committee.

Construction Sales Tax Exemption (HB 2219)

Exempts non-profit affordable housing from the sales tax on construction materials, reducing the cost to build and maintain affordable housing. HB 2219 is scheduled for a hearing in the Housing Committee on Finance this Thursday 1/25 at 1:30pm.

Sign in PRO for HB 2276

Sign PRO for HB 2219