Last Friday I went to Olympia to attend the hearing of that day. Although I did a little bit research on the bills that was going to be covered in the hearing, still didn’t realize it was actually going to be executive session, which I guess the debate part could be much more shorter than the regular one.
Feifei, Si and I arrived at the hearing room earlier before it started, it was a rainy day, but we were pretty excited to visit there.
I talked briefly with a senior citizen,who just really cared about the bill about affordable housing and wandered how might it go in the end. The bill he was concerned also interest me, it’s HB 1797, which allows the city to receive one-time remittance of 4.37 percent of the sales tax on public purchase of the affordable housing development, or public infrastructures to support such development. Also providing cities and counties authority to use real estate excise taxes to support affordable housing.
I personally think this is a very wise bill in terms of giving the flexibility of using the excise taxes to better support affordable housing. And if I heard it right, it’s only cities within county that with a population over 1.5 million to have the authority. Also affordable housing must be rented by person who qualified as very low-income, low-income, or moderate low-income households. These preconditions also work well to make sure the bill is implied in the right way. Also Representatives at the hearing pretty much voted for the bill, although they still had different concerns. Fortunately, the bill was reported with do-pass in the end.
The hearing was pretty short, so I then went to the office of Nicole Macri(State Representative, 43rd Legislative District). He was downstairs in the Caucus, so I just briefly talked with his assistant Curis Knapp(Legislative Assistant to Nicole Macri, State Representative, 43rd Legislative District ) about HB 1797 that just being discussed on the hearing, and some further talk about the importance of purchase on public infrastructure as well to support affordable housing development. He was actually pretty excited that I’m student of Landscape Architecture. Then I talked about my experience in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, how vibrant the public space is, and how connected and thoughtful the biking trails are. I knew that Seattle is also trying to improve the biking system, and we should probably have a quick take-away from “the Biking country”, improving the quality of relative infrastructures to a higher level, which will surely invite people to bike more.He was very happy to have a conversation with me, and gave me his email for further questions and information.
Then I came to hear the Caucus debate on the first floor, and met a mom of the flag-bearer downstairs, she was so proud of her daughter! The debate about the medical use of Cannabis(if I heard right) in school was very sharp, which was pretty cool to hear.
There were constantly groups of students visited the Caucus too, it was actually helpful for me to better understanding the process.
All in all, very interesting and impressive experience!