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WASHINGTON GREEN AMENDMENT

Washington Overview

What is a Green Amendment?

Green Amendments are self executing provisions added to the bill of rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people. regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.

What does HJR 4209 say?

Resolution HJR 4209/SJR 8210:

“BE IT RESOLVED … that… at the next general election the secretary of state shall submit to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, an amendment to Article I of the Constitution of the state of Washington:  ‘The people of the state, including future generations, have the right to a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, and a stable climate, and to the preservation of the natural, cultural, scenic, and healthful qualities of the environment….’” (read the Original Bill Here).

What’s happening in Washington?

HJR 4209 lets the public vote in a general election to add the right to clear air and clean water to the Washington State Bill of Rights.  It was scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Environment & Energy on February 1st at 8AM (PT) February 3rd at 10:00 AM (PT).  (Watch the Feb. 3rd recording here and the Feb. 1st recording here.)

Representative Lekanoff

Green Amendments For The Generations has been working with our leader partner 35o Washington to spread the word about the values of having a Washington Green Amendment, as well as what is happening and how you can be involved.

The Green Amendment has been re-proposed in 2022 with the  modified in meaningful ways based on input during the 2021 hearings.  Representative Debra Lekanoff in the House and Senator Mona Das in the Senate are the lead sponsors of the amendment proposal.

The Washington Green Amendment HJR 4209 / SJR 8210 are moving through the 2022 Washington State Legislature now. On January 7th, the Washington Green Amendment was pre-filed for introduction into the Washington legislature. Since then, the WA Green Amendment has had two public hearings before the House Committee on Environment and Energy on 2/1 and 2/3, respectively. HJR 4209 remains in the House awaits its next hearing. You can sign up to receive notifications about the Washington Green Amendment’s progression here and check our Act Now page for action alerts regarding the next opportunities to submit written comment and/or to testify live at hearings. If you would like to be heard on these proposals you can do so here.

Not sure what the Green Amendment will do or what to think about it, view Fact Sheets, FAQs, Webinars, Education Guides and more on our resources page.

The proposed Washington Green Amendment reads as follows:

 BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION ASSEMBLED:

THAT, At the next general election to be held in this state the secretary of state shall submit to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, an amendment to Article I of the Constitution of the state of Washington by adding a new section to read as follows:

Article I, section . . .. (1) The people of the state, including future generations, have the right to a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, and a stable climate, and to the preservation of the natural, cultural, scenic, and healthful qualities of the environment.

(2) The state, including each political subdivision of the state, shall serve as trustee of the natural resources of the state, among them its waters, air, flora, fauna, soils, and climate. The state, including each political subdivision of the state, shall conserve, protect, and maintain these resources for the benefit of all the people, including generations yet to come.

(3) The rights stated in this section are inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible, are among those rights reserved to all the people, and are on par with other protected inalienable rights. The state, including each political subdivision of the state, shall equitably protect these rights for all people regardless of their race, ethnicity, geography, or wealth, and shall act with prudence, loyalty, impartiality, and equitable treatment of all beneficiaries in fulfilling its trustee obligations. The provisions of this section are self-executing.

 

 

To learn a little history about how we got here in Washington State:

Green Amendments For The Generations has been working closely with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). GAFTG Founder Maya van Rossum presented at NCEL’s 2019 annual conference to over 150 legislators, educating them on the value and power of a Green Amendment. This presentation inspired Representative Debra Lekanoff (40th LD) to consider such a provision for the people of Washington and begin working with GAFTG in close partnership to launch a WA Green Amendment Movement.

On February 9, 2021 Representative Lekanoff first introduced an amendment to the state constitution, enshrining the rights of all Washingtonians to clean water and air, a stable climate and healthy environment.  The proposed amendment received a well attended hearing in the House Environment & Energy Committee.

 

National Green Amendments Movement

Find out where else we are working.

Learn more about Green Amendments For the Generations at forthegenerations.org.