Washington Governor Jay Inslee told a joint session of the Legislature Tuesday that the state must act now to reduce the number of people who are living without permanent shelter.
Inslee highlighted what he called a “growing crisis” as his top issue in his annual State of the State address to lawmakers who started their 60-day legislative session this week. About 10,000 people in the state are without shelter, and more than 11,000 live in temporary homeless housing.
Inslee has proposed spending more than $300 million from Washington’s emergency budget reserve over the next three years to add 2,100 shelter beds and provide other help to combat homelessness. Democratic legislative leaders have indicated they don’t have the votes to tap the emergency reserve, as Republicans argue it’s not sustainable to take money from the fund for an issue that will require ongoing support.
Inslee also called on lawmakers to pass a clean fuel standard that requires fuel producers and importers to reduce the carbon emissions associated with transportation fuels.
The governor encouraged the Legislature to ensure more children get early learning opportunities, to address diversity and equity in the workplace, and to pass gun legislation.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has proposed three gun measures limiting high capacity magazine rounds, banning assault style weapons and banning ammunition sales to people barred from owning guns. (AP)