A bill that would direct the Washington State Department of Ecology to recommend ways to reduce light pollution in the state is scheduled to receive a hearing tomorrow before the House Environment Committee. The measure, HB 2057, directs the department to complete a study of the environmental, economic, and public health effects of light pollution, and to submit the study and policy recommendations for reducing light pollution to the Legislature by next January. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 12 in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O’Brien building on the state capitol campus in Olympia.
Rep. Jessyn Farrell of Seattle is the prime sponsor of a bill calling for a study of light pollution in Washington.
State Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle) is the prime sponsor of the bill. It was introduced in February of last year but never received a hearing. Farrell told us at that time that she feels light pollution is an “important issue,” but that “it’s going to take some time and education to get movement.” She vowed to bring the bill back this session and has made good on that promise.
It’s a good sign that the measure is being heard on the second day of the 60-day session of the Legislature. The timeline is short; the bill will have to be approved by the committee by Feb. 5 to be eligible for further consideration by the full House of Representatives.
It’s also a good sign that the chair of the committee, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Seattle), is a co-sponsor of the bill.
Those unable to attend the hearing in person can comment online using a form on the Legislature’s website. Seattle Astronomy plans to attend the hearing and will keep you posted about the progress of this important legislation.
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 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.