NEEC’s priority Washington legislation, HB 2846, has died for this biennial session. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, would have revised the state’s energy benchmark and disclosure requirements and put enforcement features in it. The bill seemingly had unanimous support in the House Democratic caucus, but objections by the Association of Washington Business seem to have derailed the bill’s progress. NEEC appreciates the efforts of Rep. Fitzgibbon to create a stronger energy benchmark system in the state. The current statute remains in place, however, which obligates owners of buildings greater than 10,000 square feet to provide an ENERGY STAR statement of energy performance to any prospective buyer, lender, or lessee who requests it. Legislation to fix the inadequate funding basis for the Washington State Building Code Council is still under consideration however. The SBCC, long underfunded by a decades’ old fixed fee on building permits, faces a crisis without an improved approach. The Legislature is considering creating a “study group” and providing some stop gap temporary funding to avoid a meltdown at the SBCC.
In Oregon, the “Renew Oregon” legislature has had a somewhat tumultuous ride – or at least so as reported in the Oregonian – with a long string of emails written by the Oregon PUC questioning the value of the legislation became public under a freedom of information act request. In the midst of the media hubbub, the bill passed the Oregon House and is under consideration in the Senate. If passed, it is anticipated to get Gov. Kate Brown’s signature.