2022 Legislative Session Highlights & Lowlights

Zan McPherson
April 8, 2022

This year’s legislative session was short and bittersweet – while some exciting legislation made it through the session, there were quite a few disappointing losses. Below we’ve captured primary highlights and lowlights from the 2022 session, including legislation focusing on conservation, growth management, energy, water, waste, housing, climate, and everything in-between. See the Puget Sound Partnership’s legislative summary for a full summary of bills that were introduced this session and funding that was allocated.


Kelp & Eelgrass Restoration (SB 5619) – Recent analyses show a decline of more than 90% in bull kelp in the south and central Puget Sound in the last 150 years, along with similarly disturbing trends among other kelp and eelgrass species. This bill will conserve and restore 10,000 acres of kelp forests and eelgrass meadows by 2040. 

Enhance Farmland Protection and Land Acquisition (FPLA) – The legislature is providing $2 million in funding for the FPLA, which provides land trusts with low-interest loans to buy high-quality farmland at high risk of development. The program has an explicit commitment to equitable access for would-be farmers who are Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). 

Outdoor School For All (HB 2078) – This bill provides all 5th or 6th grade students the chance to experience the outdoors, developing teamwork, social-emotional skills, and learn about environmental and earth science.

$15 Million for State Parks, DNR, and WDFW – The legislature is providing $15 million in operational funding, $5 million for each agency, to reduce the maintenance backlogs (roads, gates, signage, trail maintenance, toilets, etc) on state parks & public lands.

Discover Pass Free Days (SB 5504) – This bill expands Discover Pass free days to include WDFW and DNR managed lands.

Derelict Vessel Removal (HB 1700) – This bill requires 25 percent of the Watercraft Excise Tax collected each fiscal year to be deposited in the Derelict Vessel Removal Account.

Oil Spill Financial Responsibility (HB 1691) – This bill requires a certificate of financial responsibility for oil-carrying marine vessels and stationary facilities to ensure that they bear the financial costs of oil spills. 

Move Ahead WA (SB 5974 and SB 5975) – This is a historic transportation package that invests over $5 billion from the Climate Commitment Act in more transit, transportation electrification, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, ferry electrification, and more! This is a fundamental shift in how Washington has previously invested in transportation, significantly increasing access to a transportation system that will vastly improve our health, provide more ways to get around, and cut major sources of pollution.

GMA Rural Growth Loophole (SB 5042) – closes a loophole in the Growth Management Act that previously allowed for growth in rural landscapes that does not comply with the GMA. SB 5042 ensures that new development will stay concentrated in designated urban growth areas, places where homes are easily connected with transit, jobs, and public services.

Tribal Participation in GMA (SHB 1717) – addresses tribal participation in planning under the Growth Management Act. The bill includes several requirements that will improve tribal participation and consultation in comprehensive planning processes, and requires greater communication between local governments, the Department of Commerce and tribal governments over updated comprehensive plans and development regulations that may impact tribal land and cultural resources.  

Reducing organic materials to landfill (HB 1799): This bill establishes a statewide goal for the landfill disposal of organic materials at a level representing 75% reduction by 2030 and a 20% reduction in volume of edible food disposed by 2025. This legislation will help promote food donation and recovery, increase food waste composting, and reduce landfill methane emissions. 

Landfill methane gas capture (HB 1663): Landfills are a significant source of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas with a far larger short-term impact than CO2. The EPA estimates that 15.1% of methane emitted in the U.S. in 2019 was from landfills. The methane is generated when organic wastes such as food scraps, grass clippings and paper decompose. With its short life, reducing methane emissions from landfills is a critical way to reduce the rate of warming in the near-term. HB 1663 bill will reduce methane emissions in Washington by requiring owners or operators of certain landfills to install methane gas capture systems.



Growth Management Act (GMA) Climate Resiliency (HB 1099) – This bill would have added climate change, climate resilience, and new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets to Washington’s comprehensive land-use planning. 

Keep Washington Evergreen (SB 5633) – This bill would have created a framework for developing a plan to conserve one million acres of working forests and reforest one million acres by 2040.

Lorraine Loomis Act (HB 1838) – This bill would have directed WDFW to identify and require public and private landowners to establish riparian buffers on salmon-bearing waterways. 

Salmon Recovery & GMA (HB 1117) – This bill would have added salmon recovery as a goal to the Growth Management Act, require comprehensive plans to address ecological gain of salmon habitat, and protect critical areas. 

Conservation Futures (HB 1672) – This bill would have removed the conservation futures property tax levies from the 1 percent revenue growth limit.

Energy for All (HB 1490) – This bill would have ensured a universal right to energy access and affordability, preventing disconnections and secure energy access for low-income households.

Clean Buildings (HB 1767 & HB 1770) – HB 1767 would have increased customer choice by allowing public utilities to help customers transition off of fossil fuels to clean, efficient electric heating systems. HB 1770 would have required new homes and other buildings to be built to net-zero emission standards, in order to cut the 23% of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions that come from heating buildings.

Missing Middle Housing (HB 1782) – This bill would have eliminated single family zoning and required fourplexes-sixplexes in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing (depending on city size and proximity to frequent transit).

Prohibiting ADU Restrictions (HB 1660) – This bill would have eliminated bans and restrictions on ADUs across the state, creating more affordable small-scale residential housing. 

Housing Benefit Districts (HB 1882) – This bill would have created a housing benefit district pilot program to plan and fund land acquisition for affordable housing near major transit stops.