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Firefighter memorial, public land housing bills signed into law Wednesday

Staff Writer | March 14, 2024 6:40 PM

OLYMPIA — Two bills requested by the Department of Natural Resources, House Bill 2003 and House Bill 2091, were signed into law Wednesday, according to a Wednesday announcement from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

According to the announcement, HB 2091 authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to develop a memorial for fallen firefighters. HB 2003 cuts an excise tax to incentivize using public lands to develop housing.

“Today is a good day. We haven’t had a memorial to the brave firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty since the original was damaged beyond repair during the Nisqually Earthquake – I am thrilled that in just a couple of years, Washingtonians will be able to visit the memorial to honor those who sacrificed to keep us safe,” said Commissioner of Public Land Hilary Franz. “On top of that, we’re taking a big first step toward using our public lands to address the housing crisis, something I have committed DNR to be a part of because our ‘all hands, all lands, all together’ mindset can also help ensure no more children have to worry about where they’re sleeping each night.”

HB 2091 authorizes DNR to begin the work to develop a design and identify a location for the memorial, the announcement said. A separate budget request to fund this process was approved in the supplemental capital budget.

According to the statement, HB 2003 incentivizes developers to build on public lands to help tackle the state’s housing crisis. It removes the 12.84% leasehold excise tax for developers who commit to maintaining housing for low- and moderate-income households. This makes it more affordable to develop housing on state lands while providing a new stream of revenue for schools and local services, the announcement said. 

“It’s not often you get to celebrate two big wins for the people of Washington on the same day,” Franz said. “These bipartisan bills were two of my highest priorities this session. I thank all the legislative sponsors and supporters of both bills for their hard work to get them passed.”