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Planning for a better future in Washington state

OLYMPIA—What kind of neighborhood would you dream of living in, and how would you like to get to work, school, or the store? 

All of that, says Rep. Davina Duerr (D-Bothell), is determined by how we plan communities on the state and local level. 

“This is about protecting our homes and businesses from climate catastrophes and reducing greenhouse gases,” said Duerr, author of House Bill 1181 

The companion bill, Senate Bill 5203, is being sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), and both pieces of legislation are requests of Gov. Jay Inslee. 

“This bill is an important step forward for local governments to plan ahead and be prepared for the challenges posed by climate change,” Lovelett said. “Our state has long been a leader on climate action, and this policy will help to ensure that our development is sustainable, that our communities and infrastructure are resilient, and that we are protecting our open spaces and quality of life for future generations to enjoy.” 

House Bill 1181 will have a public hearing in the House Local Government Committee at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17. 

“Housing, transportation and energy use are intertwined,” Duerr said. “Planning proactively not only saves taxpayer money, but gives our children a healthier and more sustainable future to raise their own children and grandchildren. This legislation will support local governments—our cities and counties—do this smart planning.” 

Duerr’s committee assignments cover each of those related issues. She was elected chair of the Local Government Committee and serves on the Environment & Energy Committee and the Transportation Committee. 

“One of the most important ways to protect communities from the impacts of climate change and to reduce overall emissions is to plan for it,” Inslee said. “Last session we came incredibly close to passing a version of this bill. I hope this is the year we can finish the job. Fully addressing climate change will require intentional and cooperative action at all levels of government.” 

The session started on Monday, Jan. 9. It will run for 105 consecutive days and will conclude on April 23.  

The 2023 Legislative session offers several ways to participate in our democracy through in-person and virtual options, which were vastly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Hearing your stories, ideas, and questions are integral to my job,” Duerr said. “Please reach out by email, the toll-free Hotline, or regular mail. I’ll also keep you informed with e-newsletters and on my legislative Facebook account.”