Proposal to study light pollution switched off

Less than two weeks after it was formally introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives, a bill that would have directed the state Department of Ecology to study light pollution and recommend possible remedies appears to be off the table for this year’s session.


Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, chair of the state House Environment Committee, did not schedule a hearing on the light-pollution study bill.

The measure, HB 2057 sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell of north Seattle, was referred to the House Environment Committee, but did not receive a hearing. Last Friday, February 20, was the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for having bills out of committee if they are to be eligible for further consideration.

While the bill may be dead the idea is not necessarily so. Occasionally, bills can be revived through parliamentary procedures, or they can be amended onto other measures, though neither of those possibilities seem likely in this case. The directive could be attached as a proviso to the Department of Ecology budget. Were that to happen, we would not likely know about it until the budget proposals start coming out in a month or so.

If nothing happens for the rest of this year’s session, the bill will be automatically re-introduced again for the 2016 legislative session, though the timeline for the study would likely be pushed back a year as well if the measure is considered at that time.

It is difficult to gauge how serious the effort is to take a close look at light pollution in the state. Neither the prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Farrell, nor the Environment Committee chair, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of West Seattle, have responded to Seattle Astronomy’s requests for information.

We will keep you posted if we learn more.

Further reading
Our earlier story about the bill’s introduction