- 07/11/2017 Inslee signs historic budget that fully funds education
- 07/10/2017 – Inslee calls for Senate Republicans to pass capital budget
- 07/01/2017 – Washington to become 5th state in the nation to adopt paid family leave
- 07/01/2017 – Inslee signs historic budget that fully funds education
- 06/30/2017 – Inslee says ‘historic budget’ will fully fund schools for first time in decades
- 06/28/2017 – Deal In Principle Reached On State Operating Budget
- 06/26/2017 – Inslee appoints Laura Riquelme to Skagit County Superior Court
- 06/26/2017 – Inslee statement regarding the Supreme Court’s action on the travel ban
- 06/21/2017 – Inslee calls third special session
- 06/21/2017 – Governor, foster care advocates make push for new children and family department
first posted – Nov.2011
What’s the Problem?
Washingtonians use more than 2 billion single-use plastic bags each year, and Seattle alone uses approximately 292 million plastic bags annually and only 13% are recycled. Too many plastic bags end up in Puget Sound where they do not biodegrade. Plastic bags break down into smaller and smaller pieces that remain hazardous as they are consumed by filter-feeders, shellfish, fish, turtles, marine mammals, and birds. PCB levels in Chinook salmon from Puget Sound are 3- to 5-times higher than any other West Coast populations.
In 2010, a beached gray whale was found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!
How would the plastic bag ban work?
by Mike O’brien
It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic carryout bags to customers. Paper bags may still be provided to customers for a minimum of five cents – stores keep the nickel to help cover the cost of providing bags. Everyone is encouraged to bring and29 use reusable bags.
- Banned Bags Include: plasticbags provided at checkout of all retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable sources).
- Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door hanger bags and dry cleaning bags.
- Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies, department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks.
- Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.
What about paper?
- Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled paper for a minimum 5 cent pass through cost that retailers keep to offset the cost of providing bags.
- Low income customers who qualify for food assistance programs shall be provided paper bags at no charge.
Joining cities on the West Coast and around the world
Seattle would join cities along the West Coast, hundreds of cities across the country and twenty nations worldwide that have already taken action to reduce the use of single use plastic bags.
- San Francisco, CA – Banned plastic bags in 2007.
- Los Angeles County – Banned Plastic bags November 2010; includes a 10 cent fee on paper bags.
- Portland, OR – Banned plastic bags in summer 2011.
- Edmonds, WA – Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; law was implemented in August 2010.
- Bellingham, WA – Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document; legislation to be implement in summer 2012.
- Washington DC – Implemented a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2009; reduced disposable bag use by 80% citywide in first year.
Background in Seattle
Approximately 292 million disposable bags are used in the City of Seattle annually. In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance that would have placed a 20 cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags at grocery, drug and convenience stores in an effort to reduce waste. The ordinance passed the Council in a 6-1 vote and then opposing parties collected enough signatures to refer the ordinance to the ballot, where it was over-turned by the voters (53%-47%) in the November 2009 primary election. The American Chemistry Council spent over $1.4 million opposing the law during the ballot measure campaign.
Today, as the ban on plastic bags is implemented and or enforced most checkers are asking if you would like to buy a cotton bag because there were no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out some stores, others such as the Dollar store and Safeway came up with or possibly the plastic industry came up with a heavy-duty plastic supposedly reusable bag. I was at a Safeway and needed another bag. I honestly did not want to spend $5 and while I was looking around, I spot a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo inscribed bag with pretty colours. This was a disappointing find on so many environmental official statewide ban levels though i admit it can be reused, it is quite large and was only .25 but they tear easily. I bought one to see how it would hold up and it lasted about 2hours … so, the next question for king county is if they actually have folks checking in on stores selling heavy-duty reusable plastic bags
What plastic bags? ugh
The bill, SB 5289 making use of a mobile phone while driving a primary offense exempts a driver who is using a personal electronic device to contact emergency services and also someone operating an authorized emergency vehicle.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee signed three bills into law on May 16 that aim to reduce distracted driving and impaired driving.
The bills make any use of a mobile phone while driving a primary offense, make an individual driver’s fourth DUI a felony, and implement recommendations from a task force on impaired driving. Inslee’s signature means the distracted driving law goes into effect in July 2017.
“We’re suffering a scourge of death of our loved ones on our roadways, due to two problems: distracted driving and impaired driving,” he said. “Today I’m signing three bills to confront these scourges head on.”
Inslee mentioned at the signing ceremony in Tacoma the case of Sam Thompson, a junior at Lewis and Clark College who was killed one week before his 21st birthday when he crashed while sending a text. Lavera Wade, his grandmother, attended the ceremony; she had worked with other victims’ families to see the law passed, according to Inslee’s news release.
The bill making use of a mobile phone while driving a primary offense is SB 5289. It exempts a driver who is using a personal electronic device to contact emergency services; the use of a system by a transit system employee for time-sensitive relay communication between the transit system employee and the transit system’s dispatch services; an individual employed as a commercial motor vehicle driver who uses a personal electronic device within the scope of his or her employment if such use is permitted under 49 U.S.C. Sec. 31136 as it existed on the effective date of the law; and a person operating an authorized emergency vehicle.
Good news: late Friday evening, the Washington State Legislature passed paid family leave, and this afternoon the Governor signed it into law! That means workers in our state will finally have time to care, with up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member’s serious medical condition, and up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for your own serious medical condition.
“With my first child, I had to start working from home 10 days after giving birth. When I returned to working onsite, I cried in the car every day. It was almost physically painful to be separated from my baby. Investing in our moms and babies now will benefit everyone in the long run.”
—Deja H., Seattle
Paid family leave is a major bright spot in a legislative session that didn’t have a lot of other positive developments — and it only happened because we all made it happen.
Working Washington members and many others testified before the State Legislature about the need for paid family leave. Dozens of you shared your personal stories online to help make the case. Baristas spoke out, took action, and generated a flood of local and even national news coverage about the issue. Thousands of people across the state sent messages to elected officials.
Workers speaking out is how we set the stage for legislators to reach agreement. It’s how we raised the minimum wage and passed secure scheduling. And it’s how we just won paid family leave too.
Click here to check out the details, and then consider making a contribution to power the next big breakthrough for workers in our state.
“I had to leave a new job that I only had a couple of months because I could not find adequate daycare for my newborn son. Paid family leave is essential. Life is full of unexpected moments. Everyone needs that backup plan to sort it out, regain balance, and get back to business.”
— Tina K., Lake Stevens