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Inslee calls on lawmakers to address safe housing, clean transportation

Gov. Inslee highlighted his key legislative goals including homelessness, climate change and transportation in his annual State of the State address.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee addressed the Washington State Legislature Tuesday and highlighted his key legislative goals including homelessness, climate change and transportation in his annual State of the State address.

In his address, Inslee called on the state legislature to pass legislation that would remove barriers to housing options such as duplexes and townhomes for all income levels.

“We must allow housing that meets the realities of our tremendous population and economic growth this century. This is also a generational issue: If our children and grandchildren are ever going to afford rent or mortgage, we need more affordable housing,” said Inslee.

Inslee announced his plan to spend $815 million to address homelessness in December, with more than two-thirds covered by federal coronavirus funding.

The governor also called upon the state Legislature to address climate change.

“We have to do everything we can to fight it. Every corner of the state faces climate-related disasters today. Not tomorrow, but right now. This is the fight for the future of our state and we need action, this day,” said Inslee.

Inslee told the state Legislature to act now to modernize regulations to make new and existing buildings perform better and incentivize clean energy projects.

Inslee also wants to make electric vehicles more affordable by giving families thousands of dollars in rebates.

"The broader transportation system remains our number one emitter of greenhouse gases that pollute our air and water and drive climate change," said Inslee. "We also need to invest in our aging transportation system in a way that meets the demands of the future while aggressively decreasing the impacts of climate change from the same system."

Some of the governor's transportation priorities include funding clean transportation programs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting ferry electrification and clean fuel standards.

State Republicans say their agenda for the legislative session includes changing parts of the police reform bill passed in 2021, legislation aimed at reducing crime and scaling back taxes.

Washington’s 60-day legislative session began Monday. Lawmakers will convene and pass new laws or change old ones before the session adjourns on March 10.

Bills are pre-filed in the month before the session begins. Then they're assigned to a committee, where leadership can decide to amend a bill, substitute it or present it to the house as-is. Many bills don't make it past the committee phase.

Bills must also make it through a rules committee, a second reading and a third reading before they get passed.

Some pre-filed bills for this year's legislative session include police reform, transportation, extreme weather, housing and homeless shelters and amendments to the state’s long-term care fund.

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