In the first week of the 60-day Legislative session, members of the House of Representatives wasted little time getting down to business. The Home Heating Assistance Bill (HB 2730), a measure sponsored by Rep. Tami Green (D-Lakewood), was fast tracked from the House and sent to the Senate on just the third day of session. It was quickly passed there and sent to the Governor, who signed it without delay.
“This bill needed to be passed now while people are struggling with high heating bills,” said Green who sponsored the legislation. “If we were to have waited to take action on this bill we would be doing a disservice to the citizens of Washington State.”
The legislation will provide $7.6 million that will work in conjunction with a federal program known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. The program helps pay high utility bills during the winter months for those who qualify. Congress has already pledged $2.2 billion for LIHEAP.
HB 2370 will benefit 14,120 households at an average rate of $350 per household, according to the state’s Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Another 350 or so households will be weatherized with this funding as well.
In Pierce County, an estimated 942 households will receive heating assistance, and 23 homes will be weatherized.
“This bill helps working families and seniors who have been caught off guard by the incredible energy costs,” said Green. “These are hard working individuals who are not looking for a handout-they are just looking for a little assistance to get them through these tough winter months.”