Our first meetup of 2022 will feature Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle, 43rd) and State Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle, 37th). (Image via campaigns)

Update: Rep. Jessica Bateman (D-Olympia, 22nd) and Senator Joe Nguyen (D-Seattle, 34th) will be subbing in for Senator Saldaña who had a last minute scheduling conflict. Bateman and Macri teamed up on a very promising missing middle zoning bill that dropped yesterday.

State Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle, 43rd) and State Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle, 37th) will join us Thursday for our January Urbanist meetup. The event takes the form of state legislative preview the week before session starts. We’ll get an overview of some of the most interesting legislation planned and what these two leading lawmakers hope to accomplish in a short session.

Rep. Macri was elected in 2016 and is a respected leader on housing issues. She serves as vice chair of Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Health Care & Wellness Committee. She sees homelessness policy firsthand as Deputy Director of Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), where she’s worked since 2002. Last session, she passed a just cause eviction law and advanced a housing choices bill, pushing local jurisdictions to relax zoning restrictions. That bill may be back this session. We’re also likely to discuss the fourplex zoning bill that Governor Jay Inslee backed, as well as the rest of his homelessness plan.

Nicole Macri (Courtesy of campaign)

Sen. Saldaña took office in 2016. She is Deputy Majority Leader, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and also sits on the Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee and the Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee. Additionally, she is co-chair of the Senate Members of Color Caucus. On transportation committee, she has been a progressive foil to chair Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), who continues to push for highway expansion amidst a climate crisis and has even proposed taxing school buses, transit, and new housing to pay for it. Saldaña proposed an “Evergreen Plan,” which would be a much greener alternative to Hobbs’ highway-focused bill. With Hobbs no longer in the senate due to Inslee appointing him Secretary of State, Saldaña’s bill may have more of a shot under newly elected Transportation Chair Marko Liias (D-Edmonds).

Rebecca Saldaña. (Courtesy of campaign)

A major transportation bill is expected to pass (or at least see a big push) in the upcoming session due to assurances made in a “grand bargain” to pass the Clean Fuels Standard and Climate Commitment Act, which sets up a cap-and-trade carbon pricing system in Washington State. Governor Inslee is also seeking to pass a follow-up climate package focused on electrification and electric vehicle rebates.

Our meetup are typically second Tuesday of the month, but we moved it up this month to accomodate legislators who will be busy with the legislative session starting the second week of January. Line opens at 6:15pm, and the panel starts at 6:30pm. The video of the event is available on our YouTube page.

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Doug Trumm is publisher of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.