Voters in the 5th Legislative District packed Issaquah Highlands’ Blakely Hall for Saturday’s legislative town hall meeting. State Sen. Mark Mullet was joined by the newly elected 5th District state Reps. Lisa Callan and Bill Ramos to answer questions from citizens.
On the environment, Mullet explained the clean energy bill, SB-5116, passed the Senate. SB-5116 commits the state to require electric utilities to transition to 100 percent carbon-neutral supply by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Mullet said one of the big things about the bill is that it acknowledges investments in hydroelectricity generation are also clean energy.
“Now this bill is saying ‘We are focusing on wind and solar, but we are also trying to figure out if there is a way to get more hydro,’” Mullet said. “I think it will pass (in the House). I think it’s going to be a big piece of legislation this session.”
In response to a specific question about orca whale protection, Ramos talked about Senate Bill 5886 which will decrease noise pollution and increase the required buffer between boats and the whales. To continue to preserve and protect the orca population, investments will need to be made into the salmon population and fish hatcheries in the area, he said.
The question of legislative action on gun ownership and safety was answered first by Callan, who noted that the House passed a bill banning the manufacturing of 3D printed gun parts and guns. That bill will move to the Senate in the coming weeks, she said.
Callan also highlighted the support for legislation surrounding access to guns for people with mental illness or people involved with domestic violence incidents. Mullet added that those bills received support from legislators from both sides.
“For people who have mental illness and domestic violence situations, I think there was real legislation that did pass, and it passed with support from members in our caucus who are avid defenders of the Second Amendment saying, ‘Hey this is something we can agree with — we don’t want these people having access to guns either,’” he said.
The elected officials were also asked about the recently approved House bill removing the philosophical exemption for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Mullet, Callan and Ramos all voiced their support for the removal of the personal exemption, stating they felt the removal would help to prevent the diseases from spreading even more. All three did say they had listened to and respected the opposing opinions from residents of the district. Mullet added that the bill did not change religious and medical exemptions for the vaccine.
One of the topics addressed at the Town Hall meeting was about talk of adopting Daylight Savings Time permanently to remove losing and gaining an hour every year. Mullet said he hopes it is resolved through a referendum on a November ballot so everyone in the state can vote.
Even if the majority vote to adopt a permanent time, he said, nothing would change. It would only send a message to the federal government that Washington voters supported the idea. Washington would be the second state on the west coast to officially ask the federal government for the option to adopt the policy.