E-News Edition 127

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Thank you for subscribing to e-news updates from the Office of Gov. Jay Inslee. We hope you find these updates interesting, useful and worth sharing. If you’d like to update your subscription preferences or unsubscribe, you can do so here at any time. If you'd like contact the governor, you can do so through his website's contact page.

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West Coast states unite to “fight like hell” to protect access to abortion

On Friday morning, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The reproductive rights of patients in more than half the country, and 49 years of durable precedent, have been swept aside. Abortion is no longer a constitutional right but instead left to the whims of state politicians.  

In response to the ruling, Gov. Jay Inslee joined with the governors of California and Oregon to launch a Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and committed to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to our states.   

“The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care,” Inslee said. “The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that’s where we find ourselves. Instead, law enforcement, vigilantes and judicial systems can force patients to bear the burdens of forced pregnancy and birth. Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country. 

The West Coast governors issued a video message on Friday to affirm their shared commitment to protecting abortion rights. Inslee will hold a press conference with state legislators on Saturday to discuss additional actions the state will pursue to strengthen legal protections and access to care. 

Governor Jay Inslee Responds to Dobbs Decision

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Community members celebrate raising of Pride flag at the state capitol

Intersex Pride Flag at Capitol

An inclusive version of the LGBTQ+ pride flag waves in the breeze over the Washington State Capitol.

Dozens gathered at the state Capitol this week to raise an LGBTQ+ pride flag in celebration of Pride Month. The event was organized by the Washington State LGBTQ Commission. Washington is among the first states to raise this new version of the flag which represents inclusion of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and trans and intersex communities.  

State leaders have striven to adopt policies that protect the rights and safety of people in the LGBTQ+ community. In recent years, legislators have approved bills to prohibit anti-LGBTQ bullying, ban conversion therapy, and ensure health insurance coverage for gender-affirming treatment.  

This week’s celebration comes at a time of rising anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and physical assaults in Washington state and around the country. Gov. Jay Inslee, legislators, and community leaders all expressed their commitment to ensuring Washington remains a state that protects the equality, dignity, and safety of LGBTQ+ individuals. 

“Raising this flag has a purpose,” Inslee said. “It’s a purpose of continued commitment, not just celebration, because we have to understand that there still are voices of intolerance. There are still those that feel threatened, and there are those who do not wish to let others be who they will be.”

Nisqually Tribal Representative Josette Ross

"Being a native person, and being a two-spirit or queer person within that community, can make it harder to be heard. I’m honored to give voice to my people.” - Nisqually Tribal Representative Josette Ross 

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Washington Supreme Court Justice Helen Whitener

“Representation matters… Your three branches of government work in our respective spheres to make sure that justice means something for all.” - Washington Supreme Court Justice Helen Whitener 

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Affordable, net-zero housing project breaks ground in Tukwila

Tukwila Homestead Groundbreaking

A new affordable housing project in Tukwila has broken ground. The development will achieve net-zero energy by generating as much electricity or more than it consumes. Pictured are Governor and First Spouse Inslee, and representatives from Homestead Community Land Trust, King County, and the City of Tukwila.

Affordability and climate-friendly construction go hand-in-hand, proven by a Tukwila development that broke ground Thursday. Homestead Community Land Trust will soon begin construction of The Southard, an affordable housing development that includes dedicated units for people with disabilities. Most of the three- and four-bedroom homes will be priced below $315,000 for income-qualified buyers. The project will be a net-zero development with cutting-edge insulation, rooftop solar panels, electric induction cooktops, and other features that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The project was supported in part by state funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce programs. As housing construction necessarily increases to keep pace with Washington’s growth, clean building practices will be a significant part of the state’s climate change strategy. 

“In one project, you have private collaboration to build homeownership units and supportive units for people with disabilities, said Nate Lichti, a managing director at Commerce. “You have green building innovations that will reduce residents’ utility costs and improve air quality. Finally, you have state and local partnerships that contribute necessary funding to get brilliant projects off the ground.” 

“King County invested in this project to advance affordable homeownership, prevent displacement, support inclusivity, and stimulate innovation to achieve net-zero energy,” said King County Housing, Homelessness, and Community Development Interim Division Director Jackie Moynahan. “These homes will achieve lower monthly energy costs and will ultimately be healthier for residents and the community.” 

Homestead Community Land Trust Southard Groundbreaking

Commemorative shovels await a groundbreaking of a new net-zero, affordable housing development in Tukwila, Washington. Governor Jay Inslee and First Spouse Trudi Inslee pose with Homestead Executive Director Kathleen Hosfeld.

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State crews begin helping people transition out of unsafe encampments along state highways

State crews worked this week to help residents move out of a dangerous encampment along I-5 in Seattle. This was the first such occurrence under a new initiative to address safety issues along public highways and rights-of-way. The Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Commerce and the Washington State Patrol are partnering with local nonprofits and governments to ensure suitable shelter options are available for residents. 

“I believe we have a moral obligation to get people out of unsafe conditions,” said Gov. Jay Inslee at a press conference in May where he provided an update on state efforts to build more shelters and supportive housing options.  

The state’s efforts are bolstered by additional funding for support services and a new rapid-acquisition capital program. The program helps local communities build supportive shelters and housing or purchase and convert hotels or apartment buildings within months instead of years.  

WSDOT right-of-way encampment removal

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New Capitol campus garden celebrates pollinators

Capitol campus pollinator gardenCapitol Campus Pollinator Garden Opening

A new educational garden has opened on the Washington State Capitol campus that teaches visitors the value of birds, butterflies and bees that support thousands of species of plants and food crops. Visitors gather for an opening ceremony at the garden, and Governor and First Spouse Inslee pose for a picture.

A new educational garden has opened on the Washington State Capitol campus to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators such as butterflies, bees and birds that ensure the health of flowering plants across Washington state. Pollinators are under threat, and the new garden will enlighten visitors to just how critical these species are to plant life. 

Pollinator populations have declined due to habitat loss, invasive species, pesticides, and climate change. Washingtonians can help protect these important species, which are responsible for pollinating 85% of the world’s flowering plants. This includes more than two-thirds of the world’s food crop species. 

“We depend on these 600+ species to propagate vegetables, flowers, and other plant life that are central to our economy and culture in Washington,” said Gov. Jay Inslee at the opening event. “We are all connected to these pollinators, so this teaching garden will help remind us of their value.” 

The garden was created in partnership between the governor’s office, Washington Department of Enterprise Services, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Agriculture, Woodland Park Zoo, and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. 

The garden is open to visitors seven days a week. Information about visiting and a full list of plants found can be found at the new Capitol Campus Pollinator Garden web page. Information about how you can support pollinators in your own backyard is available from Woodland Park Zoo.   

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