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Topics in this update include:
- House of Origin cutoff
- Helpful tips to protect your privacy online
- Protecting your payment credentials in business transactions with state agencies
- The status of net neutrality legislation
- How Washington can lead the nation in responsible recycling
House of Origin cutoff
Today is the 39th day of this 60-day session, and we just passed House of Origin cutoff. Any bills that were introduced in the House that did not come to the floor for a vote by 5 p.m. last night are now likely dead unless deemed necessary to implement the budget. The same goes for bills in the Senate.
Before session began, a lot of people were asking what one-party control of the Legislature would look like this year. It turns out the majority party chose to use this short session to ram hundreds of complex bills through the legislative process, each of which will have a direct impact on you. I truly don't believe we had enough time to consider all the particulars of each bill before voting on them, which is disappointing.
Helpful tips to protect your privacy online
In my last email update, I shared about the work I'm doing to protect your data and privacy. To follow up, I wanted to provide you with a link to the “tips and tools” page on the website of the Office of Privacy & Data Protection. There you'll find more than 40 links detailing how you can be better protected online. You can click on the image below to be taken to that page.
House Bill 1421 unanimously approved in House
Last week, the House unanimously approved a bill I've sponsored to protect Washingtonians' payment credentials in business transactions with state agencies. Under House Bill 1421, all state agencies would be prohibited from storing payment credentials on state data systems, and would be required to eliminate existing payment credentials by July 1, 2020. Third-party companies fully compliant with industry-leading security standards would store this data instead. The bill would bar them from transferring, selling, trading, monetizing, or otherwise sharing payment credentials, unless required by law.
In addition to these policy changes, House Bill 1421 would also require the state to develop a policy for minimizing the retention of social security numbers and other sensitive, personally identifiable information by state agencies whenever not required for their day-to-day operations, or by law.
House Bill 1421 is scheduled to receive a public hearing next week in the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee.
The latest on my other bills
Enforcing net neutrality in Washington state
Rep. Drew Hansen and I both introduced net neutrality legislation this year. While our bills had differences when they were introduced, we came to an agreement about how we'd like to see net neutrality implemented in Washington state, and both bills ended up mirroring one another. Because he introduced House Bill 2282 several hours before I introduced House Bill 2284, it was his bill that came to the House floor for a vote last week. It passed with strong bipartisan support, 93-5.
As I've said, net neutrality is not and should not be a partisan issue. Polling last year revealed the majority of Republicans and Democrats favored keeping the existing net neutrality rules in place. This is about fairness, consumer choice, innovation, and making sure everyone across the state can participate in the 21st century economy.
House Bill 2282 is now in the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee.
Leading the nation in responsible recycling
In 1989, we passed a law in Washington state setting a goal of a 50 percent recycling rate by 1995. We didn't get there in six years. In fact, it took 22 years. That number has remained relatively steady since 2011, but we're now facing a serious situation evolving globally.
The top export market for Washington's recyclable commodities is China, but the country recently announced it would be raising import standards for the materials it accepts going forward. In 2016, the United States shipped $5.6 billion worth of scrap exports to China, including $1.9 billion in scrap paper and $495 million in scrap plastics. Needless to say, China's crackdown is going to have a significant impact on us here in Washington and in the western United States.
In the Legislature, there has been a growing awareness and consensus that we need to own our own consumption. That has never been more true than it is now. For too long, we have simply relied on other countries to take care of our waste. In doing so, we've created more negative environmental consequences globally than most of us realize.
Over the years, a false narrative has been created that “if I have a blue bin and throw everything in there, I've done something good for the planet.” Unfortunately, that's simply not the case. A lack of knowledge about what should be recycled and what should be put into the waste stream has led to widespread contamination of recyclable materials.
The good news is we now have an opportunity to hit the reset button, own our own consumption, and be locally and globally responsible stewards. House Bill 2914 would direct the Department of Ecology (ECY) to develop a public outreach strategy in an effort to improve recycling practices, reduce contamination rates, promote statewide best practices, and improve consumer education. The outreach strategy would be required to be ready for implementation by June 1, 2018.
The bill would also require the Department of Commerce to conduct an economic analysis looking at 1) existing types of recycling business practices, 2) opportunities and barriers to recycling more materials and expanding recycling businesses, and 3) the effects of both regional and global recycling market changes. This analysis would be due in July 2019. I expect it would help inform us as to how we can ensure economic interests are harmoniously aligned with environmental interests when it comes to recycling. I strongly believe we should be encouraging and incentivizing businesses that rely on recyclables to manufacture products from them and reuse them in more effective ways.
As an aside, the work session we had on this bill in the House Environment Committee was one of the best I've been a part of since joining the Legislature. For the video of the work session, click here. For the PDFs of the presentations that were shared with the committee, click here.
I want to be clear that this bill is just a first step. We have a lot of work to do if we're going to lead nationally in these efforts. However, I'm confident we can do it.
House Bill 2914 was approved unanimously in the House, and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
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