Connecting Communities 2024 Legislative Recap

And that’s a wrap! The 2024 legislative session ended earlier this month on March 7, and our Connecting Communities campaign with it.  This short session was a roller coaster of wins and losses as we sailed to the finish line.  We couldn’t have gotten as far as we did without you this year and am grateful for our team– staff, volunteers, partners and more.  Read on for our recap of the session.

 

By the numbers:

  •  13,562 emails sent
  • 6,000+ sign ins to bill hearings
  • 1,100 volunteers activated
  •  30 in-person lobbying meetings

 

First the good news: successful defense on rural ADUs

After a run of success in the legislature the past three years, we entered 2024 knowing that we’d be playing some defense. Pretty quickly we saw legislation introduced that would allow detached accessory dwelling units on rural lots without counting these units toward rural population growth targets. This legislation would have overridden our recent success before the Growth Management Hearings Board in opposing a similar policy in Snohomish County.

We shared concerns with legislators about housing affordability in rural areas, but we opposed detached ADUs on the grounds of sprawl and water availability (more context here). Fortunately, we were able to organize with partners representing rural communities across the state, and successfully stopped these bills from moving forward.

In the interim, we’ll be working with key decision-makers to identify a path forward that addresses housing affordability issues in rural communities while preventing sprawl and protecting limited rural water resources.

 

The not-so-good news: TOD and rent stabilization fail

For the past three years, we’ve gotten used to winning! So it was difficult this year to see both HB 2160 (transit-oriented development) and HB 2114 (rent stabilization) fail in the Senate Ways & Means committee, just days before the cutoff (Learn more about Futurewise supporting rent stabilization here).

Futurewise published new research showing that the Central Puget Sound area in particular has literally billions of unrealized development capacity near transit. We know that we’ll need sustained advocacy at the state and local level to see the zoning changes we need to increase the number of homes near rail and bus rapid transit.

Throughout the legislative session, we heard opposition from cities in the vein of “we don’t want state action; we’ll do it on our own in our comprehensive updates.” We hope that the threat of state action will push cities in the Central Puget Sound to make ambitious TOD upzones in their comprehensive plan updates. However, we also know if we don’t see that local action, we will have a stronger case to return to the legislature in 2025 to push for statewide standards.

 

What’s next: training for local comp plan updates

We’re turning our attention to the comprehensive plan updates coming for Central Puget Sound (due by the end of 2024) and the rest of the state (will be completed over the next few years). These plans will be the first to reflect new updates to the GMA passed by you and Futurewise over the past few years, and we’ll need lots of local engagement to make sure we see these changes reflected in local plans.

Want to get involved?  Watch our training on the basics of comprehensive plans and how to make your voice heard, or email Marcella,  the State Organizer, at marcella@futurewise.org.

Connecting Communities 2024 Legislative Recap

And that’s a wrap! The 2024 legislative session ended earlier this month on March 7, and our Connecting Communities campaign with it.  This short session was a roller coaster of wins and losses as we sailed to the finish line.  We couldn’t have gotten as far as we did without you this year and am grateful for our team– staff, volunteers, partners and more.  Read on for our recap of the session.

 

By the numbers:

  •  13,562 emails sent
  • 6,000+ sign ins to bill hearings
  • 1,100 volunteers activated
  •  30 in-person lobbying meetings

 

First the good news: successful defense on rural ADUs

After a run of success in the legislature the past three years, we entered 2024 knowing that we’d be playing some defense. Pretty quickly we saw legislation introduced that would allow detached accessory dwelling units on rural lots without counting these units toward rural population growth targets. This legislation would have overridden our recent success before the Growth Management Hearings Board in opposing a similar policy in Snohomish County.

We shared concerns with legislators about housing affordability in rural areas, but we opposed detached ADUs on the grounds of sprawl and water availability (more context here). Fortunately, we were able to organize with partners representing rural communities across the state, and successfully stopped these bills from moving forward.

In the interim, we’ll be working with key decision-makers to identify a path forward that addresses housing affordability issues in rural communities while preventing sprawl and protecting limited rural water resources.

 

The not-so-good news: TOD and rent stabilization fail

For the past three years, we’ve gotten used to winning! So it was difficult this year to see both HB 2160 (transit-oriented development) and HB 2114 (rent stabilization) fail in the Senate Ways & Means committee, just days before the cutoff (Learn more about Futurewise supporting rent stabilization here).

Futurewise published new research showing that the Central Puget Sound area in particular has literally billions of unrealized development capacity near transit. We know that we’ll need sustained advocacy at the state and local level to see the zoning changes we need to increase the number of homes near rail and bus rapid transit.

Throughout the legislative session, we heard opposition from cities in the vein of “we don’t want state action; we’ll do it on our own in our comprehensive updates.” We hope that the threat of state action will push cities in the Central Puget Sound to make ambitious TOD upzones in their comprehensive plan updates. However, we also know if we don’t see that local action, we will have a stronger case to return to the legislature in 2025 to push for statewide standards.

 

What’s next: training for local comp plan updates

We’re turning our attention to the comprehensive plan updates coming for Central Puget Sound (due by the end of 2024) and the rest of the state (will be completed over the next few years). These plans will be the first to reflect new updates to the GMA passed by you and Futurewise over the past few years, and we’ll need lots of local engagement to make sure we see these changes reflected in local plans.

Want to get involved?  Watch our training on the basics of comprehensive plans and how to make your voice heard, or email Marcella,  the State Organizer, at marcella@futurewise.org.

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