A bill by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker that was approved last year unanimously in the House and Senate, but later vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee, is back and is once again making its way through the Legislature.
House Bill 1117 would ensure the state continually addresses plans to help avoid energy blackouts, or other inadequacies of the electric grid. Early Sunday morning, lawmakers in the state House once again approved the bill unanimously, 95-0, with three members excused.
“We want to be sure Washington state doesn’t have brownouts or blackouts as we transition to green energy, and to keep building up and maintaining our power grid adequacy,” Mosbrucker told lawmakers as she spoke on the House floor.
The bill would extend the requirement for the Department of Commerce and the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to convene energy resource adequacy stakeholder meetings from Jan. 1, 2025 to Jan. 1, 2031. The measure would require those meetings to specifically address the risk of rolling blackouts and inadequacy events, discuss how proposed laws and regulations may require new state policy for resource adequacy, and identify incentives to enhance and ensure resource adequacy.
Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, says the concept for the bill came from a public utility district commissioner in Klickitat County who is concerned that the future electrical grid system has enough baseload supply to prevent blackouts.
“We don’t want to wait until our electric system is in a crisis to begin plans for how to work our way out of the problem. The time to ensure grid adequacy and plan for the future is now,” said Mosbrucker.
Mosbrucker has been working with the governor’s office to address his concerns and ensure the bill does not meet the same fate as last year.
In an effort to beat a Wednesday (March 8), 5 p.m. deadline to vote on bills from their house of origin, lawmakers worked overnight into both early Saturday and Sunday mornings, debating and passing bills. On Friday, they unanimously approved House Bill 1171, a bill authored by Mosbrucker that modifies that state’s motorcycle safety education advisory board.
“This bill would add three members to the existing five-member board — including two from the east side of the state — to represent motorcycle safety instructors,” said Mosbrucker. “These advisory board members make recommendations about the safety of driving and riding motorcycles across the state. We want to make sure there is representation at the table to discuss motorcycle instructor lessons and how that ties in to safety.”
The bill also was approved unanimously. Both measures now will go to the Senate for further consideration.
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