Two key bills from Rep. Smith clear committee hurdle

Two of Rep. Norma Smith‘s priority bills have been approved by state House committees and await a possible vote on the House floor.

Smith, R-Clinton, is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1008, concerning personal data privacy, and House Bill 1897, to create a research center on “earth abundant” materials for new clean technologies.

HB 1008, passed by the House General Government and Information Technology Committee on Feb. 13, addresses the problem of both cyberattacks on, and leaks of private data by, state and local government agencies. It empowers the state auditor, within its existing budget and staffing, to conduct select audits to verify that state and local agencies have data management practices which comply with the best and most current standards set by the State’s Chief Information Officer, or other appropriate standard-setting body.

“Many people are concerned about the privacy of their data, and this legislation addresses their concerns in the sphere of state and local government,” said Smith. “It is of the utmost importance that we do everything we can to set standards and ensure data privacy.”

HB 1897 was approved by the House Technology and Economic Development Committee on Feb. 17. It would create a Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth-Abundant Materials (JC DREAM) to accelerate the development of next-generation clean energy and transportation technologies in Washington, using earth-abundant materials that are reliably accessible and can be acquired in environmentally responsible processes.

“In our pursuit to deploy clean technologies, we find ourselves in a dilemma,” said Smith. “Many of these advanced technologies, including wind, solar and electric/hybrid vehicles, are dependent on rare earth elements and other expensive and difficult-to-source earth components. Partially as a result of the aversion of many concerning mining in the United States and the availability of other international supply sources, decisions have been made to ‘outsource’. Unfortunately the global environmental consequences and supply-chain challenges are well documented, and the hard realities of our choices are lived out by others far away.”

Smith crafted the legislation in cooperation with researchers from Washington State University, the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“We have some of the best scientists in academia researching next-generation, environmentally beneficial advances in earth-abundant technologies,” said Smith. “There needs to be a program that puts them in the same room with industry innovators, because the cost of achieving our national security, energy independence, true sustainability, and environmental goals requires great investment that is only defensible if there is commercial opportunity. Then we need to prepare a workforce so that every Washingtonian can benefit from the deployment of these new technologies.”

HB 1008 awaits action by the House Rules Committee; HB 1897 will likely be sent to the House Appropriations Committee for approval.

###

Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov