Washington Governor Jay Inslee Weekly Newsletter - September 30, 2022

Government and Politics

October 3, 2022

From: Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Washington finalizes historic cap-and-invest plan to slash carbon pollution

The Washington State Department of Ecology has finalized regulations for the state’s first cap-and-invest program, which will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. The program is a result of the Climate Commitment Act passed by legislators and signed by the governor last year. Under the cap-and-invest program, firms responsible for 75% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions must obtain allowances to cover their emissions. Over time, these allowances will be reduced, incentivizing businesses to cut emissions.

“This policy is among the most decisive actions we’ve taken in our history to confront climate change and protect our collective future,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This new program will help us decarbonize our economy, improve air quality, and put Washington at the forefront of the fast-growing global era of clean energy.”

This is among several policies passed in recent years aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions 95% by 2050. Ecology is required to implement the landmark program – only the second of its kind in the nation – by Jan. 1, 2023. The first auction is planned for February 2023.

The revenue will be invested in activities that further reduce emissions and benefit communities disproportionately harmed by climate change. One example of how these revenues will be used is in this year’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package that includes unprecedented investments in transit – including free transit for all youth ages 18 and younger, electrification of ferries and cars, and other non-highway modes of travel.

Homeless service workers may qualify for up to $4,000 in relief

Homelessness is a challenge for communities all across the country and Washington state. The root causes are as complex as the solutions, but workforce shortages are a big factor in many places. As with so many other sectors, it’s been hard for homeless service providers to recruit and retain workers. These are the individuals who work directly with people experiencing homelessness to connect them to services and who staff shelters and housing facilities.

To help ensure those working as homeless service workers can afford to continue that work, the Washington State Department of Commerce is administering a federal Homeless Service Workers Stipend Program. The program is funded by $51 million in federal grants. Applications opened this week and eligibility information is available in English and Spanish. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Child care providers invited to apply for grant that will allow for one-time payment to retain workers

Child care providers nationwide are having a hard time retaining good workers. The Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) has launched a non-competitive Workforce Retention Grant that will allow providers to offer a one-time payment to on-site child care workers. Applications are open until October 20. Information and technical assistance are available in multiple languages. DCYF will divide grant funding evenly among the eligible child care workers across all applications.  

Addressing the retention challenge is just one aspect of DCYF’s work to support the child care workforce and improve access to quality child care. The agency is working to meet long-term and emerging needs through various efforts, including Fair Start for Kids Act initiatives such as the Child Care Complex Needs Fund and the Early Childhood Equity Grant.

DCYF also provided the Child Care Stabilization Grant to support providers and stabilize the child care industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional supports include the Early Achievers Needs-Based Grant, health benefits for licensed family home providers, and health insurance coverage for $0 monthly premiums for child care workers.

These investments will support child care providers to help keep their doors open and meet the needs of the children and families they serve, making the child care and early learning system more accessible and equitable.

News you might have missed:

“What goes around, comes around” when it comes to industrial waste

Firms large and small are experimenting with "circular" methods to reduce waste, reuse byproducts, and even recapture profits. Several companies in Washington state are helping grow the circular economy, and the governor recently visited the Nordic countries where he saw how some of their businesses are putting circular methods in practice. In Helsinki, Finland, heat from Microsoft servers helps warm local homes. When it comes to industrial waste, one company’s trash might just be another’s treasure.

Drivers, carmakers, and states are leaving fossil fuels in the rearview mirror. Is Washington ready to drive electric?

The future of car travel in Washington state will be electric, but is the state's infrastructure ready? Is the grid ready? Will charging be accessible? Will EVs create jobs? Gov. Jay Inslee's senior climate advisor Anna Lising has answers for many common questions about electric vehicles and infrastructure.

Insurance coverage approved to help doctors facing criminal charges for providing legal abortions

The Washington State Insurance Commissioner has approved coverage requested by the largest medical malpractice insurer in the state to reimburse medical provider policyholders for expenses incurred defending against criminal charges for providing legal abortion care. Abortion is legal in Washington state and it is expected that many out-of-state patients may seek abortion care here. Some states have threatened to take prosecutorial action beyond their borders against physicians that offer legal abortion services.

U.S. Department of Commerce invests $2.8 million to develop workforce in Klickitat County

Klickitat County was awarded a $2.8 million grant to develop an aviation maintenance training facility at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, and to improve infrastructure at the site. The investment will be matched by $700,000 in local funds and is expected to create 70 jobs, retain 53 jobs, and generate $6 million in private investment. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.

“Washington’s aerospace and aviation industry has a long history of providing jobs in counties all across our state, from engineers and pilots to machinists and inspectors,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “I appreciate the EDA’s support for the community’s efforts to train and employ more people looking for a good-paying career in aviation.”

Department of Revenue encourages Washingtonians to claim lost funds

Many Washingtonians have unclaimed money waiting for them to collect. Banks, utilities, insurers, government agencies, and businesses are occasionally unable to contact someone to whom they owe funds or property. If property remains unclaimed for three years, it is turned over to the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR). DOR hosts a service that allows people to search for unclaimed funds and property. Washingtonians may visit claimyourcash.org, provide basic information, and find whether property is due to them.

Inslee honors lifesaving heroes at Industrial Safety and Health Conference

Seventeen workplace heroes were honored on Sept. 28 during the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Tacoma. Among the award winners were three workers who helped put out a van fire along a highway and save the occupants; two public utility workers who rescued a person stranded in the snow; a counselor who administered Narcan to save a youth home resident who overdosed; and several workers who performed CPR or used an automated external defibrillator to save lives.

State ferries to WA youth: "Welcome aboard for free!"

Passengers 18 or younger may ride Washington State Ferries for free beginning Saturday, Oct. 1. Free youth transit ridership was a focus of this year’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package. The law directs transit agencies to provide free fares for passengers 18 and under across the state. Free ferry ridership applies only to youth riding as a passenger in a vehicle or walking aboard a state ferry - it does not include teenagers behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Drivers under 19 years old will continue to pay the adult vehicle and driver fare.

Inslee activates four members of the Washington National Guard to assist Florida hurricane response

Gov. Jay Inslee activated four members of the Washington National Guard on Sept. 29 to support Hurricane Ian response efforts in Florida. The Washington National Guard members will help address communications and power outages resulting from the hurricane.

Dangerous winds and floodwaters have caused grave damage to communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The storm is ongoing and continues to threaten life and property. At the time of its landfall, it was the fifth-strongest hurricane on record to affect the contiguous United States.