Washington Legislative Session Wrap

There are many great legislative wrap-ups that capture all of the drama of Washington’s short 60-day session; below is an encapsulation of what happened to bills that impact Shift Zero’s priorities.

  • HB 1622 (Senn) passed the legislature and has been delivered to the Governor; this bill provides the first funding increase to the State’s building code council in more than 25 years. The State Building Code Council is tasked with moving the state’s energy code to using 70% less energy by 2031, as compared to 2006, and helping achieve the broader goal for building zero fossil-fuel greenhouse gas emissions homes.
  • SB 6203 (Carlyle), the Governor’s carbon tax proposal, was successfully voted out of two Senate committees, but did not have the votes to pass the full Senate.
  • HB 2931 (Doglio) would have directed the State Building Code Council to establish two voluntary tiers of a residential energy stretch code; jurisdictions would have been free to select either the base energy code or one of the stretch tiers. Shift Zero members testified in support of this bill before the House Technology & Economic Development (TED) committee and sent in a letter of support. The bill was voted out of Committee, but the bill did not come to a vote in the House before cut-off.
  • SB 6081 (Palumbo), the Solar Fairness Act, would have raised the minimum utility threshold for net metering from 0.5%, which many utilities are starting to hit up against. Shift Zero members sent in a letter of support for this bill, which was alive until the very last day of session. However, the bill did not advance this session.
  • HB 2319 (Doglio) would have required investor-owned utilities to implement meter-base conservation (“pay for performance”) programs and programs that provide incentives based on the normalized energy baseline. This bill received support from Shift Zero members, including NEEC, Climate Solutions, and NW Energy Coalition, and was voted out of the House TED committee. However, the bill did not come to a House vote before cut-off.
  • Legislators discussed a number of other important policies relevant to creating a zero net carbon building environment in Washington, including clean electricity procurement, energy efficiency standards for consumer products, on-bill financing for efficiency and solar improvements, and disclosure of global warming potential of building materials, but none of these concepts pushed through to the end in this short session.

Carbon Fee Initiative

A diverse coalition of groups has joined together to file an initiative, I-1631, which would impose a fee on large emitters and use those funds to invest in clean energy and solutions to address the climate crisis—including carbon neutral buildings. If the initiative receives enough signatures, it will be on the 2018 fall ballot.

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