Washingtonians across the state continue to struggle with increasing home and rent prices with little relief in sight. To address the underlying issue of not having enough homes we set out to reduce barriers to building more housing while we stabilize people in their homes and increase our investment in affordable housing via the Housing Trust Fund.
Over 50 housing bills were introduced during the 2023 Legislative Session with 20 passing making it a banner year for housing policy. I was proud to lead this effort organizing bipartisan support to address our housing crisis and bringing together a pro-housing coalition to make it happen. I sponsored HB 1110 legalizing middle housing statewide which passed in April and became law in July. This bill legalizes modest middle housing options in communities across the state so that we can ensure all Washingtonians have a place to call home.
We also passed bills to legalize accessory dwelling units in all cities, streamline the permitting process, protect tenants from unreasonable damage claims and help our communities plan for climate change through housing. In total we invested $1.2 billion dollars to create more affordable homes and prevent people from becoming homeless. I look forward to continuing this progress on housing next year.
I believe every individual has the right to their own bodily autonomy and that right extends to exercising the full spectrum of their reproductive health rights and services. In light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and a court case out of Texas challenging the use of mifepristone, it’s essential that all people have continued access to abortion services and medication. Which is why I sponsored HB 1854 making sure mifepristone continues being available for all of those who need it. I also sponsored HB 1115 which eliminates co-pays for abortions to ensure one’s access to reproductive health services isn’t limited by their ability to pay. Both bills became law.
It takes people to care for people, but our state is facing a serious workforce shortage in health care and behavioral health. That’s why I sponsored HB 1724 which will streamline the licensing process, creating additional licenses and identifying the barriers to an adequate behavioral health workforce.
I also sponsored HB 1646 to protect the work of the Dementia Action Collaborative (DAC) in response to the unique needs of our aging population living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia – more than 100,000 in our state. This legislation will make an important difference in the lives of those with dementia and their families and caregivers.
Recognizing that buildings account for 27% of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions, I am leading on decarbonization of our buildings. That’s why I co-sponsored HB 1390 to help campuses meet their carbon reduction goals and HB 1391 to decrease barriers for Washingtonians to transition their homes to cleaner energy.
I’ve also driven improvements at our state’s largest utility allowing it to transition away from fossil fuels and streamlined the permitting process for clean energy facilities with HB 1589 and HB 1216.
Looking forward, HB 1181 and HB 1170 will ensure that climate change is included in our land-use planning framework and we update our state’s climate response strategy to increase community resilience.