2021 Washington State Legislative Session Report- Week 3

Source: Brad Boswell, January 31, 2021

Week Three

The legislature has now completed three weeks of the scheduled fifteen week 2021 session. This week was filled with virtual committee hearings, executive sessions, and floor action. All bills that are not necessary to implement the budget must be out of their policy committee by February 15th in order to stay alive this session. 

The Democrat’s COVID-19 relief package, HB 1368, that was introduced at the end of last week is quickly moving through the legislative process. The bill was passed out of the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday and is now in Rules where it can be pulled to the floor at any time for a vote.  In anticipation of passage out of the House it has been scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Ways & Means committee on Tuesday, February 2nd as well as executive session on Thursday, February 4th. As mentioned last week, this bill is funded largely from federal relief dollars.  

Another bill moving quickly through the legislative process is the Governor’s Unemployment Insurance bill, SB 5061, which has passed through the Senate and the House with bipartisan support. The bill contains an emergency clause and will take effect as soon as Governor Inslee signs it into law. 

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced several changes to the state’s Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery. Changes include the evaluation criteria for regions to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, and the timeframe in which regions can progress. On Monday the Puget Sound Region and the West Region will move to phase two. You can read the full story here

On Wednesday, the state Redistricting Commission held their first official meeting. The Commission convenes every ten years in order to redraw congressional and legislative district boundaries. Each caucus appoints one member to the Commission, and this year’s representative are; Joe Fain (Senate Republican Caucus Appointee), Paul Graves (House Republican Caucus Appointee), April Sims (House Democratic Caucus Appointee), and Brady Walkinshaw (Senate Democratic Caucus Appointee). The next meeting will be on Saturday January 30th.

On Wednesday Senate Transportation Chair Steve Hobbs introduced the latest version of his Forward Washington transportation package. He did not release legislative language, but instead posted a summary of the revenue pieces, the “balance sheet” that compared revenues and project categories, and a more detailed project list. Notable is the fact that rather than relying on a carbon fee or revenue from a cap-and-trade bill, he included both options in his balance sheet. The plan spends between $17 and $19 billion over sixteen years, making it considerably smaller than Chair Fey’s $26 billion package on the House side. Hobbs held a public hearing on Thursday and invited public comment on the revenue options, the projects, and any other aspects of the program. 


Finally this week there were two new revenue proposals introduced. On Thursday, Senator June Robinson and Senator Reuven Carlyle introduced SB 5371, a statewide tax on sweetened beverages to fund public health. On Wednesday, Representative Noel Frame introduced HB 1406, a state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets. These are in addition to the list of other revenue proposals that have been introduced including a capital gains tax, tax on insurance premiums, tax on short term rentals, tax on the sale of data, and various carbon taxing proposals. 

Important Dates:

 Feb 15 – House of Origin Policy Cutoff

 Feb 22 – House of Origin Fiscal Cutoff

 March 9 – House of Origin Floor Cutoff

 March 26 – Opposite House Policy Cutoff

 April 2 – Opposite House Fiscal Cutoff April 11 – Opposite House Floor Cutoff April 25 – Sine Die

The House Capital Budget committee heard HB 1103 (regarding improving environmental and social outcomes with the production of building materials) on Tuesday, January 26th (hearing linked here).  This bill would require large construction or building renovation contracts to provide an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and labor data for at least 90% of the weight of materials.  Alternative reporting requirements are included for firms unable to comply.  This bill would also establish a public database to report the collected data.  While those in support agree with the desire of carbon reduction, opponents stress the burden both government agencies and companies will experience due to reporting requirements.

Concerning greenhouse gas emissions reduction in public facilities design, HB 1280 was heard in the House Environment & Energy committee on Friday, January 29th.  This bill is scheduled to move out of committee on Thursday, February 4th at 1:30pm.

HB 1287 concerning preparedness for a zero emissions transportation future was heard in the House Committee on Environment & Energy on Thursday, January 28th, and is scheduled to move out of committee on Thursday, February 4th. This bill focuses on the creation of a public mapping and forecasting tool for charging and refueling infrastructure for electric vehicles.  Electric utilities providers would also be required to analyze how they will support and account for anticipated zero-emission vehicle use levels, and the State Building Code Council would need to adopt rules exceeding requirements set forth previously for electric vehicle infrastructure within buildings.

This week HB 1393 was introduced to the House Committee on Environment & Energy.  This bill delays the product stewardship and takeback program for photovoltaic modules until 2025.  The initial hearing will be Friday, February 5th at 10am. 

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Fitzgibbon establishing a statewide low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), HB 1901, has been scheduled for a public hearing in the House Appropriations committee on Thursday, February 4th. Senator Carlyle’s Cap & Invest bill, SB 5126, and the Governor’s decarbonization of buildings proposal, HB 1084, have yet to be scheduled for executive action. 

There was a new carbon fee proposal introduced this week, SB 5373, being championed by Senator Lovelett and Representatives Lekanoff and Shewmake. While the short title is technically “reducing carbon pollution,” the bill’s proponents are referring to it as “Washington STRONG.” The bill imposes a $25/ton carbon fee and would be used to issue “green bonds.”

Clean Tech Alliance Bill Status & Upcoming Events Report

Upcoming Events

Transportation (House) – Virtual, – 2/1 @ 3:30pm

  • HB 1204 – Public Hearing – Concerning the electrification of transportation. (Remote testimony.)

Finance (House) – Virtual, – 2/2 @ 1:30pm

  • HB 1406 – Public Hearing – Improving the equity of Washington state’s tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets. (Remote testimony.)

Environment, Energy & Technology (Senate) – Virtual, – 2/3 @ 8:30am

  • SB 5174 – Exec Session – Providing for the recycling of wind turbine blades.

Environment & Energy (House) – Virtual, – 2/4 @ 1:30pm

  • HB 1046 – Exec Session – Concerning community solar programs.

Appropriations (House) – Virtual, – 2/4 @ 3:30pm

  • SHB 1091 – Public Hearing – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel. (Remote testimony.)

Environment & Energy (House) – Virtual, – 2/5 @ 10:00am

  • HB 1046 – Exec Session – Concerning community solar programs.
  • HB 1393 – Public Hearing – Delaying certain implementation dates for the photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program. (Remote testimony.)

Bill #Abbrev. TitleShort DescriptionStatusSponsor
HB 1036Transportation fuel/carbonReducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.H Env & EnergyFitzgibbon
HB 1046Community solar programsConcerning community solar programs.H Env & EnergyBateman
SHB 1050Fluorinated gasesReducing greenhouse gas emissions from fluorinated gases.H AppropsFitzgibbon
HB 1080 (SB 5083)Capital budget 2021-2023Concerning the capital budget.H Cap BudgetTharinger
HB 1081 (SB 5084)State gen. obligation bondsConcerning state general obligation bonds and related accounts.H Cap BudgetTharinger
HB 1084 (SB 5093)Building decarbonizationReducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by achieving greater decarbonization of residential and commercial buildings.H Env & EnergyRamel
SHB 1091 (SB 5231)Transportation fuel/carbonReducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.H AppropsFitzgibbon
HB 1093 (SB 5091)Operating budget, 2nd supp.Making 2019-2021 fiscal biennium second supplemental operating appropriations.H AppropsOrmsby
HB 1094 (SB 5092)Operating budget 2021-2023Making 2021-2023 fiscal biennium operating appropriations.H AppropsOrmsby
HB 1103 (SB 5366)Building materialsImproving environmental and social outcomes with the production of building materials.H Cap BudgetDuerr
HB 1125Energy investmentsIncentivizing investment in energy conservation and efficiency measures and expanding opportunities for energy rate discounts to, among other objectives, reduce the energy burden of low-income customers and vulnerable populations.H Env & EnergyShewmake
HB 1130Energy supply/consumersConcerning consumer affordability and reliability in energy supply.H Env & EnergyDye
HB 1135 (SB 5165)Transp. budget 2021-2023Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium.H TransportationFey
HB 1204 (SB 5256)Transp. electrificationConcerning the electrification of transportation.H TransportationMacri
HB 1393Photovoltaic module programDelaying certain implementation dates for the photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program.H Env & EnergyShewmake
HB 1406Wealth taxImproving the equity of Washington state’s tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets.H FinanceFrame
SB 5083 (HB 1080)Capital budget 2021-2023Concerning the capital budget.S Ways & MeansFrockt
SB 5084 (HB 1081)State gen. obligation bondsConcerning state general obligation bonds and related accounts.S Ways & MeansFrockt
SB 5091 (HB 1093)Operating budget, 2nd supp.Making 2019-2021 fiscal biennium second supplemental operating appropriations.S Ways & MeansRolfes
SB 5092 (HB 1094)Operating budget 2021-2023Making 2021-2023 fiscal biennium operating appropriations.S Ways & MeansRolfes
SB 5093 (HB 1084)Building decarbonizationReducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by achieving greater decarbonization of residential and commercial buildings.S Environment, ELiias
SB 5126Climate commitment actConcerning the Washington climate commitment act.S Environment, ECarlyle
SB 5165 (HB 1135)Transp. budget 2021-2023Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium.S TransportationHobbs
SB 5168Electric utility advisoryConcerning renewable and nonemitting resources analysis and advisory opinions.S Environment, EShort
SB 5174Wind turbine blade recyclingProviding for the recycling of wind turbine blades.S Environment, EWilson
SB 5206Energy facility evaluationEliminating expedited processing of an alternative energy resource facility fueled by solar energy on certain designated lands before the energy facility site evaluation council.S Environment, EWarnick
SB 5231 (SHB 1091)Transportation fuel/carbonReducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.S Environment, EStanford
SB 5244Nuclear reactor productionEncouraging the production of advanced nuclear reactors, small modular reactors, and components through the invest in Washington act.S Environment, EBrown
SB 5256 (HB 1204)Transp. electrificationConcerning the electrification of transportation.S Environment, ELiias
SB 5308Hybrid vehicle feesReducing certain transportation electrification fees on hybrid vehicles.S TransportationShort
SB 5373Carbon pollutionConcerning carbon pollution.S Environment, ELovelett

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