Gov. Jay Inslee’s sweeping climate-change bill drew hundreds to a packed public hearing Tuesday, putting the divided world view of supporters and opponents on full display throughout the Capitol.
An air of urgency filled environmentalists who sang songs and waved signs at passing lawmakers, and erected a display of a burning planet.
But Republicans and top business groups shrugged off the need for swift action, arguing Washington already is a clean state that doesn’t need to impose costly new rules.
While Inslee’s supporters have argued climate change should not be a partisan issue, it has proved to be one in the Legislature. HB 1314 is sponsored by 37 Democrats. A companion Senate bill has drawn 20 Democratic sponsors. Not a single Republican had signed on in support of either bill as of Tuesday.
In the Times story, Opportunity Washington received a brief mention.
A new business coalition called Opportunity Washington announced its launch at a morning news conference. The group, which includes the Association of Washington Business (AWB) and the Washington Roundtable, didn’t mention climate change as a priority at all, listing its focus as on education and transportation funding.
When asked about Inslee’s plan, Kris Johnson, president of the AWB, said he didn’t see it as a viable undertaking. “We have substantial concerns with a cap-and-trade proposal system … built off of a California-like cap-and-trade system,” Johnson said.
Our priorities are Achieve (education), Connect (transportation infrastructure), and Employ (encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation). In the Employ section of our online report, we do offer some commentary on regulatory policy:
Policies to address climate change and water quality are frequently cited by employers as areas of uncertainty that can affect long-range planning. Additionally, as noted earlier, many employment policies enacted by state and local governments, including the minimum wage and paid leave requirements, represent workplace regulations that exceed federal standards and add to employers’ competitiveness concerns.
While regulations ultimately reflect Washingtonians’ policy preferences, they should be regularly reviewed to see if, for example, the benefits justify the added costs of compliance.
Lawmakers should apply that standard to consideration of all regulation, including proposed climate change policies.