Sponsor will try again next year on light pollution study

We reported yesterday that a proposal to do a study of light pollution in the state of Washington was dead for this year’s session of the state Legislature. The prime sponsor of the measure says she plans to try again next year.

Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Rep. Jessyn Farrell of Seattle is the prime sponsor of a bill calling for a study of light pollution in Washington. Though the proposal is tabled for this year, she plans to try again in 2016.

“I think this is an important issue,” wrote state Rep. Jessyn Farrell in an email to Seattle Astronomy, “but it’s going to take some time and education to get movement.”

Farrell’s bill is HB 2057, which was formally introduced Feb. 10 but did not receive a hearing or vote in the House Environment Committee. Last Friday was the deadline by which bills had to earn committee approval in order to remain eligible for further consideration this year.

The bill is just over one page in length, and simply would have directed the state Department of Ecology to “analyze the current extent of light pollution that adversely affects the quality of the environment, the value of property, and the health and well-being of the public,” and to recommend solutions to the problem. Though it didn’t get much consideration this year, we believe it is the first time the subject of light pollution has been raised in six years. Our post about the introduction of the measure includes a bit of history of the debate in Olympia.

The International Dark-sky Association and its local chapter Dark Skies Northwest are aware of the measure, and with lead time may be able to help provide some of the education Rep. Farrell believes is needed. In the meantime the astronomy community can help raise awareness by contacting legislators to support the bill in particular and curbs on light pollution in general.

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