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As State Legislative Session Begins, Mayor Harrell Highlights Key Priorities for Seattle

Seattle – Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell shared key legislative priorities for his administration and the people of Seattle as the Washington State Legislature begins the 2024 session. Mayor Harrell is calling for bold action on critical public safety, behavioral health, and other priority issues that impact Seattle and cities and across the state, reflecting his commitment to collaborate with partners at all levels of government to build safe, resilient, and thriving communities.

“From reducing gun violence to addressing homelessness, stopping the scourge of fentanyl, and preventing the worst impacts of climate change, the challenges facing Seattle require urgency, along with resources greater than any one city can afford on their own. This legislative session is an opportunity to further collaborate with our state partners on needed policies and critical investments to create a safe and healthy future for Seattle and the entire state of Washington,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell.

In December, Mayor Harrell hosted members of Seattle’s state legislative delegation to discuss shared priorities in advance of the 2024 session (see photos here) and stood with Governor Inslee in support of needed action on homelessness and climate change.

Key priorities and specific improvements include:

Strengthening Public Safety

  • Reduce gun violence by removing state preemption and allowing cities to regulate firearms (HB 1178), prohibiting weapons in public spaces and other sensitive facilities (SB 5444), requiring permits to purchase firearms (HB 1902) and restricting the ability to purchase firearms in bulk (HB 2054).
  • Fund diversion programs to increase access to treatment and services for non-violent offenders.
  • Invest in graffiti removal on State-managed rights-of-way (such as I-5 and SR 99).
  • Reform the police accountability arbitration system to require substantial deference to the discipline imposed by a Chief of Police or Sheriff.

Addressing the Mental Health and Substance Use Crises

  • Expand mental health and substance use treatment resources, options, and facilities. 
  • Invest in fentanyl overdose response, including equipping first responders and service providers with Naloxone.
  • Ensure every student has access to mental health supports and counseling in schools.

Reducing Homelessness and Increasing Housing Options 

  • Secure significant additional resources to resolve encampments on WSDOT rights-of-way and continue to invest in expanding and acquiring new shelter and permanent supportive housing options.
  • Allocate $20 million dollars in the Housing Trust Fund to support 400 new units of affordable housing as part of the Rainier Valley Early Learning Campus.
  • Support infrastructure and housing resources for the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Project.
  • Update the non-profit affordable housing property tax exemption to include Seattle’s Affordable Housing Levy, JumpStart, and MHA funds as the qualified methods of financing (HB 2012).

Advancing Climate Action

  • Secure Climate Commitment Act funding for investments in Seattle priorities like clean transportation, job training, heat pump installation, and other needed decarbonization and climate resilience efforts.
  • Invest in solar power technology upgrades.
  • Invest in net-zero emission Community Resilience Hubs.
  • Secure funding to establish a water quality facility in the South Park neighborhood to address environmental injustices, build flood prevention infrastructure, and clean up pollution.