(360) 786-7604|Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Billig consumer safety bill signed into law

April 24th, 2013|

Consumers will be safer from cancer-causing building materials under legislation signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Asbestos has been known to be a carcinogen for decades, but many asbestos-containing building materials are still legal. SSB 5458 would require that any products containing asbestos be clearly labeled to ensure that consumers are informed that the product contains this dangerous element.

“Consumers deserve to know if they are buying a product that’s known to cause cancer,” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “With this legislation, consumers will gain the transparency necessary to make safe choices for themselves and their families.”

Exposure to asbestos is widely recognized as a health hazard. Breathing asbestos fibers can damage the lungs and impair lung functions severely enough to cause disability and death. Asbestos also causes lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the membrane lining of the lungs or stomach. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned most uses of asbestos. However, that rule was later overturned, allowing the manufacture, importation, processing or distribution for many of the products containing asbestos that had been banned. Products containing asbestos that are currently not banned include cement flat sheet, clothing, pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl floor tile, cement shingles, cement pipe, millboard, automobile components and non-roofing and roof coatings.

The bill would require that any asbestos-containing building material must feature a label that clearly identifies it as containing asbestos. The label must be placed on the exterior packaging or wrapping with the product name and description and on the exterior surface of the building material itself.

“The idea for SB 5458 started when I received an e-mail from a constituent who works for the Spokane Clean Air Agency,” said Billig. “This bill represents the important role of constituents in the legislative process. I am grateful for the community input on this bill which will lead to increased transparency and safety.”


Gov. Inslee signs SB 5458 with Sens. Billig and Schlicher, Rep. Upthegrove


Gov. Inslee signs SB 5458 with Sens. Billig and Schlicher, Rep. Upthegrove

Statement on Senate Republican majority’s operating budget proposal

April 4th, 2013|

Senator Andy Billig, D-Spokane, released the following statement today regarding the Senate Republican majority’s operating budget proposal:

“While the Republican budget proposal has some positive aspects, in its current form it fails to deliver for the Spokane community.

“In the area of education, this budget makes a positive step forward by dedicating new funding for K-12 public schools, but it does not meet our state’s constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education. Further, the additional funding that is provided comes at the expense of our state’s most vulnerable citizens through cuts to programs that help children, families, seniors and the blind and disabled. 

“I will advocate for the Senate to move closer to Governor Inslee’s education budget, which provided $1.2 billion in additional K-12 funding and focused the spending on areas that will increase quality.

“This budget also comes up short in early learning with a large sweep of funds from Working Connections Child Care, an important early learning program for Spokane and our entire state. I have co-sponsored a bill that will be introduced tomorrow which will help address this important need for our community.

“I want to compliment the Republican budget writers for embracing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act by accepting Medicaid expansion and helping to extend health insurance to 260,000 low income citizens in our state. This expansion provides the double benefit of saving the state money while expanding access to health care.

“Another positive piece of the budget is the inclusion of operational funding for the Spokane Medical School, our community’s number-one economic development priority. I advocated strongly for this funding and I am pleased that $6.8 million for medical education and biomedical research is included for the Spokane Medical School.

“My budget priorities continue to be job creation with a focus on strengthening the middle class, expanding educational opportunity, improving quality of life, and providing a safety net and helping hand for the most vulnerable in our community.

“As I continue to work on the operating budget, feedback from constituents is vital. I welcome comments and suggestions as we move forward with the budget process over the coming weeks.”