Saturday, July 31, 2021


Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.


Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

WA Bill on Equitable Climate Response Nears Finish Line


Monday, March 29, 2021   

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The impacts from climate change fall disproportionately on some people, but a bill in the Washington state Legislature aims to put those folks at the center of the conversation.

The Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL Act) would define and include environmental justice in the work of state agencies so that people on the front lines of a changing climate, often communities of color, are included in planning and discussion.

Charmi Ajmera, co-lead for equitable governance with Front and Centered, which is leading the effort on the measure, said it would provide equity in the decision-making process.

"[We're] trying to embed environmental justice into everything these agencies are already doing," Ajmera explained. "So they can just grow that muscle, so it becomes sort of second nature that they think about equity and environmental justice in what they're doing."

The HEAL Act would also create and fund an environmental justice council and, with guidance from communities and the Environmental Health Disparities Map, allocate funding toward the most impacted areas.

Opponents of the bill say it will restrain economic growth and hurt jobs. The bill has passed the Senate and been approved in the House Committee on Environment and Energy.

Giovanni Severino, lead policy organizer for the Latino Community Fund of Washington, which works with communities in the central part of the state, said people in the region have seen more effects from environmental catastrophes such as wildfires and heat waves as climate change has worsened.

"We see our homes burning down, we see our communities burning down," Severino recounted. "We also see the drought that is brought into communities, and for Latinx communities in central Washington specifically, well, those are the communities that are hit the hardest."

David Mendoza, director of public advocacy and engagement for The Nature Conservancy of Washington, said the goal of the legislation is to ensure state agencies understand what marginalized communities need.

"So as agencies then develop policy or enforcement plans or grants, those concerns are really understood and programs are designed with that perspective, to address the health disparities communities face," Mendoza outlined.

Mendoza noted the HEAL Act is now headed to the House Appropriations Committee.

Disclosure: The Nature Conservancy of Washington contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)


LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …

Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021