NWHPBA WASHINGTON’S END OF SESSION REPORT:
Legislature Adjourns on Time!
Supplemental budgets passed in the final hours of the 2022 legislative session
Lawmakers passed the state’s supplemental budget and transportation funding plans in the final hours of the 60-day legislative session, which adjourned at midnight on March 10.
State of Reform has a good round-up of the Supplemental Operating Budget, noting the spending plan adds $5 billion to the 2021 operating budget, bringing total spending to $64.1 billion over the two-year budget. In the final negotiations, the majority of Democrats prioritized spending on pay raises for state employees, increased rates for child-care providers, and rental assistance, among other items.
Lawmakers also passed the Supplemental Transportation Budget. Breaking precedent, the majority party crafted and passed a 16-year, $17 billion package. Instead of relying on gas tax or bonding, it relies on additional revenue from the state’s new cap-and-trade program, a one-time $2 billion fund transfer from the general fund-state, increases in various fees and federal dollars.
Victories for NWHPBA!!!
HB 1770 – Energy Codes: All those calls, committee sign-ins and emails were worth it. HB 1770, which would have created a local reach code for residential construction as well as limited the ability to use in homes by creating further restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, died on the Senate floor Friday afternoon. Proponents could not muster the votes to pass this bill. While this does not change the dynamics of moving away from gas in Washington state, it does slow down the process and gives our industry the ability to adapt and advocate to retain fuel choice and alternatives to electrification. Of the four bills that were originally introduced for building decarbonization, only SB 5722—energy performance standards for buildings over 20,000 square feet – made it to the Governor’s desk.
HB 1766 – Clean Heat: NWHPBA also helped defeat this bill that would have restricted natural gas in the state and required the gas companies to begin transitioning all customers to electricity. This bill, combined with HB 1767 which our coalition also defeated, would have seriously impacted the integrity of the natural gas system and therefore would have had a broader impact than the bill intended.
HB 1837 – Ergonomics: Once again, your grassroots efforts helped stop a bill that would have allowed L&I to adopt rules setting standards for repetitive motion injuries that in previous iterations cost the business over $700 million to implement. Consistent calls and emails helped us stop this bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate.
SB 5801 – Making Employers Pay if they Lose Workers’ Compensation Appeals: This bill also failed to come up for a vote on the House floor before the deadline Friday night. While it didn’t warrant the grassroots approach, the business community worked hard with friendly legislators to stop this bill which would have stifled employers from appealing workers’ compensation claims by forcing them to pay if they
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- NWHPBA won the fight to ensure gas appliance heating efficiency standards were reasonable and able to be produced by our manufacturers.
- NWHPBA worked with a coalition of industry and consumers to push back attempts to ban residential natural gas hook ups in several areas around Washington State, including the cities of Seattle and Spokane.
- NWHPBA lobbied to increase the amount of money available to consumers for woodstove changeout programs in Washington State by over $1.5 million.
- When the pandemic supply chain issues hit our industry and made compliance with the newly adopted Washington State Energy Code nearly impossible, NWHPBA lobbied the Washington State Building Code Council to delay implementation of pilot light changes until the materials and chips needed to meet the new rules were available to manufacturers.
- NWHPBA engaged legislators from Idaho and Washington in factory tours to help build champions and educate legislators about the impacts of changing testing methodologies on the industry.
- When Washington State Legislators threaten to ban natural gas in the state, NWHPBA members stood up and fought. They called their legislators, testified in committees and worked in industry coalitions to stop these onerous bills.
- When Washington’s Governor was closing down businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, NWHPBA worked to ensure that heating services, including hearth products, were considered “essential businesses”