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  • Working to protect the environment in 2019

Working to protect the environment in 2019

The 2019 legislative session kicked off on January 14 and this year we will be in Olympia for a “long” 105-day regular session. In odd years, lawmakers are responsible for passing two-year operating, capital, and transportation budgets.

After the 2019 election, Democrats hold larger majorities in the Senate (28-21) and House (57-41). It’s an exciting time in Olympia and our team of Senate Democrats is strong, diverse, and determined to create smart policy and make targeted investments that will improve life for people in our communities.

I introduced a bill to reduce plastic pollution. Watch here.

Protecting the natural beauty and biological diversity of our region was a primary reason I entered public service nearly two decades ago. With a strong environmental majority in the Senate this year, I am hopeful we can make meaningful progress in 2019. This year I am sponsoring several measures to target pollution and improve wildlife habitat.

SB 5135 would prevent toxic pollution that affects public health or the environment by regulating the use of five classes of chemicals that are most harmful to sensitive populations and species.

SB 5397 would ensure the producers of plastic packaging also take responsibility for the product’s entire life cycle through reuse, recycling, or disposal.

SB 5404 and SB 5580 would implement a more complete strategy for improving forage fish populations in our state’s waters (crucial for orca and salmon recovery), including habitat restoration efforts.

SB 5116 would commit Washington to an aggressive transformation of its electricity system over the next 25 years, lowering carbon emissions and making our state a leader in clean energy.

SB 5412 would require that, by 2028, a gallon of transportation fuel produce carbon emissions 10 percent below its 2017 emissions level and hit 20 percent less per gallon by 2035.

In response to concerns expressed by local community members about aerial chemical spraying in Hansville, I have also introduced SB 5597, which organizes a work group to look at current aerial pesticide practices and recommend updates to forest management rules where warranted.

Welcome to the team

We are happy to have Jessica Thom working in our office this session. Jessica is originally from Kennewick and is currently a junior at Western Washington University in Bellingham. She is studying English literature, political science, and law. As you can see, Jessica has already had a chance to drop a bill in the Hopper, first official step in a bill’s journey to becoming law in Olympia.