2023 Priorities

Investing in
Salmon Habitat

Salmon runs continue to dwindle throughout the state – across the Columbia Basin, throughout southwest Washington, and around the Puget Sound region. Fortunately, experts know what it takes to protect and improve habitat for salmon: preserving streamside vegetation to keep water cool, decreasing stormwater and sewage pollution, removing or avoiding fish passage barriers like dams and culverts, maintaining healthy nearshore and estuarine areas. However, every year, lack of funding stalls most locally-vetted, and regionally-prioritized, salmon recovery projects. For the past several budget cycles, only 15 percent of the need has been funded. Now is the time to right-size salmon investments for the future.

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Investing in
Climate Action

The climate crisis means we need to cut pollution fast and while investing wisely to expand clean energy solutions as quickly as possible. In early 2023, Washington State will begin generating revenue from The Climate Commitment Act, our comprehensive, economy-wide carbon reduction program. Our Legislature must make smart investments in climate solutions that cut pollution and transition communities to a clean and equitable economy at the speed and the scale required to align with climate science. This session, the Legislature will start making the largest investments in clean energy, air quality, natural resource resiliency, and benefits to tribal nations and overburdened communities in state history. It is critical for our legislators to invest these funds equitably and strategically to provide the greatest benefits to all Washington residents.

Planning for a Climate Friendly
Future

Planning for a Climate Friendly Future requires the largest and fastest-growing counties and cities within them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled through land use planning. It requires all counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) to plan for resilience and to address the impacts of climate change in land use plans. In addition, it updates the transportation element of the GMA by incorporating transit and bike/pedestrian planning.

HB 1181 | SB 5203

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Washington Recycling And Packaging Act
(The WRAP Act)

All across Washington, plastic waste litters Washington’s shorelines and waterways, filling landfills to capacity, and harming wildlife. Our recycling system needs to be modernized so packaging can actually be recycled, composted, or reused. The Renew Recycling Act addresses this waste by creating a set of graduated fees on packaging manufacturers based on how readily reusable, compostable, or recyclable their products are. These fees will be used to fund improvements in infrastructure, uniform access for residents across the state, and a clear list of what people can recycle. This bill will have the added benefit of shifting recycling costs away from ratepayers and onto the manufacturers.

SB5154 and HB1131

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Partnership Agenda

Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act
(HB 1282/SB 5322)

Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act (HB 1282/SB 5322)
The Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act is a reporting-only bill that establishes reporting requirements on the carbon content and working conditions of building materials purchased for large state-funded building projects. This harnesses existing state spending to incentivize manufacturers to producer lower-carbon products and grow high-wage manufacturing jobs. If passed, the state and other entities buying building materials would have a publicly available resource to make climate-smart purchasing decisions while also supporting workers and communities.

Upgrading Automatic Voter Registration
(HB 1229/ SB 5154)

Increasing electoral participation is at the heart of environmental justice by ensuring all Washingtonians, regardless of race or income, are heard at the ballot box. However, there are still almost one million eligible Washingtonians who are not registered to vote, and people of color and low-income people still face registration barriers. HB 1229/ SB 5154 ensures more people are registered to vote by upgrading our automatic voter registration system to include people left out by traditional methods. Making these changes will increase voter registration, maintain public confidence in registering only eligible voters, and save time and money through automatic registration instead of through paper forms.

Removing Advisory Votes from Ballots
(HB 1158/ SB 5082)

Filling out a ballot in Washington should be a way for voters to simply and clearly make decisions on issues that make a real difference in their communities. Unfortunately, every year our ballots are littered with distracting non-binding advisory votes that have no effect to change any laws. Removing advisory votes from our ballots saves resources and makes it easier for all voters to understand and fill out our ballots, especially new voters and voters who speak English as a second language. Advisory votes also do not provide accurate information on policies that require polluters to pay and provide resources to invest in solutions to problems like toxic pollution, climate change, and many more. Washington needs to encourage meaningful electoral participation and maintain the integrity of its ballots by removing confusing and unenforceable advisory votes.

Become a Legislative Session Activist

Take action for a healthier environment for all Washingtonians. From attending hearings, organizing in your community, attending town halls, to writing letters to the editor, we can help find the right role for you.

Bills to watch

Want to stay up to date on policy in progress? WCA helps develop the Environmental Community Hot List for the State House and Senate—the 10 most important environmental bills being debated that week.

Environmental Priorities Coalition Members

Past Reports

Past Priorities Report

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Past Priorities Report Executive Summary

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Racial Justice Glossary

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