Friends and neighbors,

Now the 2023 session has really kicked into gear, bills are making their way through the legislative process, and we’re staying busy down in Olympia. The highlight of session so far has been listening to folks from across the state talk about the issues close to them in committee hearings – remotely! – but it has also been exciting to see some of my own bills receiving support from my colleagues and other Washingtonians.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the priorities I’m addressing this year!

Housing affordability
It’s no secret that housing costs are up around the entire country, and Washington communities are no different. I’m working alongside my colleagues this year to address some of those concerns with a few different proposals.

One of my bills would allow municipal governments to levy an excise tax on short-term rentals and to invest those dollars into affordable housing programs and operations such as workforce housing, project development resources, and homeless housing assistance. Another would task the State Building Code Council to create guidelines and definitions for temporary emergency shelters. This will help local jurisdictions permit this critical infrastructure in a timely manner and ensure we are getting our vulnerable neighbors out of the elements and on track towards stability.

A third bill I’m working on this year is the residential version of my Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) legislation that has passed in the last few years. This version would create a similar program for homeowners (R-PACER) – permitting county governments to allow owners of residential properties to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for qualifying improvements, including energy efficiency, water conservation, and on-site renewable energy.

As Chair of the Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs Committee, I’m eager to continue having in-depth conversations about the role that local governments play in addressing climate change and housing affordability and look forward to hearing from you about the policies you care about.

Environmental protections
As we’re working to address the ongoing climate crisis in Washington, it’s crucial that we act to minimize the damage and improve outcomes as much as possible. It has always been a top priority of mine to protect our incredible natural environment for generations to come, and I’m proud to be continuing that work this session.

One key and often overlooked tool in the fight against climate change is public banking. That’s why I’m teaming up with my colleague Sen. Patty Kuderer this year to create a Washington State Public Infrastructure Bank to finance projects across the state – including climate resiliency and public works projects like water system improvements. It also provides resources to invest in the housing we so desperately need in our communities. The time is now to realize this fundamental financial underpinning to create the future we want to see.

Near and dear to our hearts and ecosystem in the 40th District is the plight of our beloved Southern Resident Killer Whales. With that in mind, I’ve also introduced legislation to protect our Orcas from noise pollution by requiring vessels to stay 1,000 yards away from them to improve outcomes as they hunt and raise their young.

Stay in touch!

As the 2023 session is underway, your feedback is an important part of the democratic process. Stay in touch with us here, and follow along on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

I also encourage you to get involved by testifying in committee – which you can do remotely from the comfort of your home!

I look forward to working with you this year.