2022 Legislative Priorities

As frontline communities we are increasing the self-determination and solutions of our communities — those disproportionately impacted by pollution, damage to the climate, and an inequitable economy — to accelerate systemic change together. Our legislative priorities aim to transform our energy and transportation systems to provide equitable access to affordable and renewable power and transportation on our path toward a Just Transition. Download 2022 Legislative Priorities

Front and Centered Community-Led Priorities

People across Washington are struggling to pay for basic needs, made worse by the pandemic. Existing energy assistance programs are failing to reach most of those eligible, and monthly utility bills are an increasing burden, leaving many to struggle to make payments, fall into debt, and risk shut off. We cannot go back to disconnections and debt. Energy for All (HB 1490), championed by Rep. Harris-Talley (37th LD), is the way we move toward a just and regenerative energy system that puts the health and well-being of current and future generations first at every stage of the energy process, from generating power to lighting and heating our homes. HB 1490 would:
  • Create energy bill payment plan options with bills capped at 3% of household income for low-income households and households with people with disabilities 
  • Write off past due balance debt on accounts after one year of plan payments
  • Require utilities to regularly report data on residential customer usage and energy assistance need and energy assistance program participation

In Washington, nearly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and trucks, and no surprise, we also have among the highest asthma rates in the nation. Meanwhile, state transportation funding does not provide mobility for all — 25% of the state’s population have no driver’s license, yet only 4% of the state’s transportation budget goes for transit, bike, and pedestrian investments. When Front and Centered asked our members for their transportation priorities, communities of color across the state could not be more clear: better public transit, cleaner air, and safer streets.

  • Funding a Transportation Package
    • Stop digging the hole deeper — no new funding for highway expansion
    • Fully fund our transportation needs, including public and active transportation 
  • No Highways in Overburdened Communities, prevent highway additions in areas facing the greatest cumulative risk from pollution and existing environmental health disparities
  • Establish frequent, accessible transit standards and evaluation criteria for what a just transportation system requires of public transportation, streets, and for our climate

Priorities Front and Centered Shaped

Update to the Growth Management Act to require local planning for climate resilience and vehicle miles traveled reductions. Improve & pass HB 1099

The Growth Management Act directs planning processes on the local level that eventually determine what gets built where. But the existing law says nothing about climate pollution, resilience, or environmental justice.

HB 1099 is returning from last session with improvements that better incorporate community resilience and environmental justice and tie the process to the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL) last session.

  • We must plan for reducing vehicle miles traveled as essential to reducing climate change. This bill has supporting language, but needs amendments to eliminate contradictions that require more road building.
  • Require planning for resiliency, including for social, health, economic, and built environment aspects of community resilience.
  • Integrate environmental justice in the development of both resilience and vehicle miles traveled planning elements.

Front and Centered Consideration

In addition we will be tracking a number of bills that impact justice and the transition. Some that may perpetuate harm and some that provide a foundation for climate, economic, and environmental justice.  Check back for more information.

Stipends for low-income community members on statewide boards, councils, commissions, and similar work groups. Improve and pass SB 5793

This bill would provide a maximum amount of $200 per day while also allowances for child and adult care reimbursement, lodging, and travel expenses that already exist in some statewide groups. Under the law, stipends and reimbursements would not count as income or assets when calculating an individual’s eligibility for state benefits and would not create an employment relationship with the state. Front and Centered is seeking changes to the bill to make stipends more easily accessible and ensure there is adequate funding behind the measure. This legislation is an agency request by the Office of the Attorney General and sponsored by Senator Claire Wilson (30th LD). 

Our 2022 Legislative Session Bill Tracker

2022 Legislative Bill Tracker