Our Legislative Agenda

Our 2023 Just Transition Agenda

Communities of color and low-income communities are on the frontlines of the climate and environmental crisis. Our coalition of frontline communities advocates for the right to a healthy environment for all by rooting out disparities. We are convening, generating, and analyzing data, building alignment, and mobilizing our communities. We aim to advance a Just Transition for Washington State by shifting power to frontline communities, stopping what harms us, and building the future we need.

Each year, the legislative session offers opportunities to advance our goals, working closely with members, and 2023 was no exception. Our work began well before this session kicked off by listening to and engaging our coalition to create our 2023 Just Transition Agenda for Washington State (see below) which aimed to build upon our previous success and to ensure the legislature meets its obligation to prioritize frontline communities and invest in programs and projects that reduce health disparities in Washington State.

See below for a big picture summary of how we fared. For a deeper understanding of what we achieved, where the legislature fell short, and how we worked together to do our collective advocacy, see our blog post: What the 2023 Legislative Session Means for Frontline Communities.

Hundreds and hundreds of you signed in PRO for Senate Bill 5651—our bill to take the HEAL Act to the local level by embedding environmental justice into Washington’s Growth Management Act.

We have some great news for you: our bill is moving forward! That’s right, SB 5651 has advanced out of its first committee and will be heard this Wednesday by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Our bill will not get the chance to be voted on by the full Senate unless this new committee moves it forward. That means we need you help us to move our bill forward by signing in PRO for environmental justice in the Growth Management Act. Even if you signed in PRO for our bill before, we still need you to take action because it’s in a new committee now and we need to keep the momentum going!

Learn more about this Front and Centered bill and take action by signing in PRO for environmental justice in the Growth Management Act:

What does it mean to sign in PRO? It means you provide your name, email, city, and ZIP code, and that you mark your position as being “Pro” for Senate Bill 5651. By taking just one minute to sign in PRO on this bill, you will help bring equity and environmental justice into the planning that goes on in your city, town, or county.

Click the buttons to take action ASAP, before the hearings on Wednesday!

Thank you for joining our legislative briefing to kickoff 2023!
In case you missed it, you can watch it here:
Play Video
Group of advocates standing in front of the Capitol building in Olympia.

What Our Coalition Achieved

While we are celebrating new investments in community capacity, participation, and resiliency, we are questioning some of the decisions made by budget leaders to leave environmental justice out of the picture and are frustrated by the lack of action around critical community needs despite the availability of significant new revenues.

Key Achievements of the 2023 Legislative Session:

  • Climate Planning in the Growth Management Act: Our biggest policy win this session is HB 1181, which incorporates environmental justice in Washington State’s Growth Management Act to address both the growing impacts of climate change and the state’s contribution to greenhouse gas pollution, with a focus on transportation. The budget included $40 million to implement this bill, including grants to community-based organizations for which Front and Centered advocated.
  • Community Participatory Solutions: The final budget reflects one core environmental justice principle — community participation — by including investments in participatory budgeting ($36.6 million) and community capacity grants ($26.3 million) to help boost the participation of our frontline communities in the implementation of HEAL and application of the Environmental Health Disparities (EHD) Map. This wouldn’t have happened without pressure from our frontline communities!
  • Disproportionately Impacted Workers: Front and Centered and Community to Community led efforts to achieve a $10 million investment supporting a workplace health and safety program for workers affected by climate impacts, including extreme heat and cold, wildfire smoke, drought, and flooding. This program aims to support farmworkers, construction workers, and others who are most risk from climate-related environmental impacts.

We achieved these wins through strategic advocacy including staff and members joining our Legislative Advocate Guillermo Rogel Jr. in Olympia to lobby, testify, and host public events such as our inaugural reception for legislators of color and a press conference with the BIPOC Mobility Action Coalition to highlight just transportation – watch our short video. We also reached growing audiences via email, social media, media coverage including The Seattle Times, The Urbanist, and The White House, as well as through calls to action, resulting in thousands of people signing in PRO for our priority bills and sending 500 budget-related emails to legislators.

Our ongoing, day-to-day work on the ground creating real change with our frontline communities continues throughout the year. Join us as we continue to organize, mobilize, celebrate, and build a Just Transition in Washington State!

Our 2023 Legislative Agenda

Build the Future We Need

Build the Future We Need

Stop What Harms Us

There’s a historic amount of funds the legislature must allocate to benefit overburdened communities this year, but there is little or no information available about how the state will meet these obligations.

The Front and Centered coalition will be fighting to advance community self-determination, to ensure that benefits meet real community-identified needs, and to expose the false solutions that are presented as “environmental justice.”

— Deric Gruen, Co-executive Director of Policy and Programs

Right to a Healthy Environment

Root Out Disparities

Frontline Community Power

Download Our 2023 Just Transition Agenda

“We know that when frontline communities are engaged in creating solutions, we see better results.”

Download Additional Infosheets