A bill in Washington State Legislature seeks to put an end to the federal government ban on incandescent light bulbs that remain within the state.

Introduced by State Rep. Elizabeth Scott, House Bill 1686 (HB1686) would allow for the purchase of incandescent light bulbs that are manufactured in the state.

Citing the Tenth Amendment and the Ninth Amendment, the bill states the federal government has no authority to regulate intrastate commerce and thus cannot prohibit light bulbs that never leave the state.

In reads, in part:

 The legislature further finds that the people of Washington state know better than the federal government what type of light bulb they prefer and should have the freedom to choose whether or not they wish to purchase and use incandescent light bulbs or some alternative to incandescent light bulbs, and if an item such as an incandescent light bulb is manufactured in this state, without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state or country, and the item is offered for sale and sold only for use within the borders of Washington state, the item is not in the stream of interstate commerce and not subject to federal regulation under the commerce clause of the United States Constitution (emphasis added).

All incandescent light bulbs sold under this bill would be required to have “Made in Washington state for use in Washington state” on every bulb.

HB1686 has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

The feds effectively banned the manufacture and sale of the one hundred watt incandescent light bulbs in 2012, then the seventy watt bulb in 2013. This was followed by further bans on other incandescent light bulbs in 2014.

The bill is a fine example of the states employing the Tenth Amendment to protect the rights of the people by refusing to yield authority to the feds not delegated to them by the Constitution. The feds have no business meddling in the private affairs of people or regulating the minutiae of their lives, such as the type of light bulb they choose to illuminate their homes.

Some might say it is necessary because it is an environmental issue, but compact fluorescent lamps (CLP) can be just as harmful due to their mercury content, which is why the EPA has a 10-11 step process for cleanup of broken CFLs, as well as require them to take discarded bulbs to special disposal centers. As HB1686 points out, emitting diode lamps (LED) contain lead and nickel and can be harmful if they are accidentally broken.

It is not the feds’ job to decide how people light their homes. HB1686 would partially allow people in the Evergreen State to make this choice for themselves.


For Washington: Call up your state senator and urge them to introduce their own version of HB1686. Then contact your state representative and tell them to support this legislation. You can find their contact information HERE.

For All Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce their own light bulb freedom act by clicking HERE.

TJ Martinell

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