Housing would be built more quickly without compromising construction requirements, increasing the supply of affordable housing, under legislation approved Monday by the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

“The state has allocated lots of funding for affordable housing in recent years, but the backlog in building permits has limited the industry’s ability to actually build the homes,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah). “This bill solves that problem without compromising housing quality or homeowner safety one iota.”

Mullet’s Senate Bill 5964 would give local permitting offices state funds to outsource the processing of backlogged building permits, eliminating protracted delays that have caused the supply of housing to lag behind demand.

“Goal one is to make more housing available for people struggling to find homes, with an emphasis on affordable homes,” Mullet said. “But a secondary benefit is that the additional homes could reduce housing costs in general by easing supply and demand.”

Mullet cited support for the legislation from a wide variety of stakeholders.

“It’s pretty rare to get agreement on a bill from environmental groups, the construction industry and local governments, but this bill has it,” he said. “Everybody can see it’s just a good, common-sense way to increase the supply of affordable housing.”

Mullet’s bill would further accelerate the processing of permits by providing grants to enable local counties and cities to receive permit applications electronically, eliminating paperwork that slows the process. The bill would also simplify the processing of permits for kitchen and bathroom remodels.