We are currently in the middle of the third week of the Legislative session. This time of session consists mostly of meeting with constituents, working on bill development, and lots of time in committees for bill hearings and votes. The first cut-off date, policy committee cut-off, will be February 17, which is when we will shift gears to the next phase of the session.
Tele-Town Hall Follow-Up
Thank you for your thoughtful questions during last week’s tele-town hall. Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby and I discussed topics including childcare, North Spokane Corridor funding, healthcare workforce, and infrastructure investments.
For anyone who missed it, you can find the recording and highlights here.
Billig’s Bills: Reducing PCBs in the Spokane River
In 2014, I sponsored Senate Bill 6086 to reduce polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Washington state. I am taking more action to reduce PCBs in the Spokane River during the current session, but more on that in a moment!
Originally used for their chemical stability and wide range of applications, PCBs are now known to be highly toxic, even at low levels. The same chemical stability that makes them effective for uses in insulation and paints also makes them long-lasting in the environment. Health effects range from headaches to cognitive problems and cancer.
PCBs are particularly a problem in waterways around the state, including the Spokane River. PCBs bio-accumulate in fish, which makes them dangerous to eat. In fact, it is recommended that people eat no more than 10 ounces of fish per week from the Spokane River.
The 2014 bill, SB 6086, sought to prioritize state purchasing on products and packaging that do not contain PCBs.
Building on that progress, I am now sponsoring SB 5369.This new legislation would make two small but meaningful changes: petition the FDA to lower the level of PCBs in consumer products, and have the WA Department of Ecology make rules prohibiting paints and inks with PCBs in our state.
Earlier this week, I advocated for the bill before the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee. You can watch a clip of my testimony here.
Your input is essential for me to effectively do my job of representing our community. Please reach out to me at any time with questions, feedback, or comments at Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov.