Legislative Session 2021

This session will be remote only, which brings changes in process. Legislators are being encouraged to focus their attention on fewer bills, so they have to pick what is most important to them. Democrats have narrowed their focus to four key areas: racial equity, COVID-19 response, economic recovery and global climate change. Citizens may end up having an easier time to weigh in on bills, since they will not have to go to Olympia to testify or to talk with their representatives.

Passed Both Chambers

Still in Play

  • Budget

    • Building Weatherization ($55M)

    • Building study

    • Amtrak Long Range Planning Update

    • Scoping work for Climate element in Comprehensive Plans

Timeline - Meetings on Bills

Missed Cutoff – Dead Bills

Not subject to cutoff, but not passed during session:

These bills were introduced in this session, passed their house of origin, passed the policy and fiscal committees in the other house, but failed to get a floor vote before the cutoff

These bills were introduced in this session, passed their house of origin, passed the policy and fiscal committees in the other house, but failed to passed the Rules committee:

These bills were introduced in this session, passed the house of origin, and failed to make the other house fiscal committee cutoff

  • Creates a sales and use tax exemption for electric bicycles and up to $200 of related equipment (HB 1330)

  • Appropriate up to $200 million for Federal matching grants to increase broadband access in rural and distressed areas (SB5357)

These bills were introduced in this session, passed a policy committee and fiscal committee (if applicable), but failed to get a floor vote:

These bills were introduced in this session, passed the policy committee, but missed the cutoff date for moving on from the fiscal committee

These bills were introduced in this session, but missed the cutoff date for moving on from the policy committee

You can watch hearings through TVW.


Committee schedules are here, including links to agenda and video.

Senate Environment, Energy & Technology – Tues & Thurs 10:30-11:30am, Weds 8-10am

Senate Transportation – Monday, Tues & Thurs 4-6pm

Senate Ways & Means – Monday, Tues & Thurs 4-6pm

If you have questions about the Legislature, and cannot find the answers here, try calling the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.

Cut-off dates

House of Origin

  • Policy Committee – Feb. 15

  • Fiscal Committee – Feb. 22

  • Rules Committee

  • Floor – March 9

Second House

  • Policy Committee – March 26

  • Fiscal Committee – April 2

  • Rules Committee

  • Floor – April 11

Last day of session: April 25

Process

Bills are added to the system and assigned a number. Leadership then assigns the bill to a committee. The bill is introduced to the committee and given a hearing, and must receive a majority vote to pass out of committee. Bills that have fiscal implications, because they either will require funding or have revenue implications, are then passed to one of the Fiscal Committees. Again, there are hearings, and the bill must get a majority vote to continue. The next step is the Rules Committee, which basically serves as a gatekeeper for which bills get a floor vote. Many bills fail at this step, possibly because there simply isn't enough time for a floor vote. After a positive floor vote, the bill passes to the second house (House Bills pass to the Senate, Senate Bills pass to the house), where it undergoes a similar process. Bills that pass both houses then must either be signed by the governor, vetoed, or allowed to become law without being signed. Vetoes require a two thirds vote in each house in order to override.

There are some types of bills that require more than a majority of votes in favor in order to pass. The list includes bills that incur state debt (requires three fifths), bills that amend a voter approved initiative within two years passage (requires two thirds), and bills introduced in the last 10 days of a session (requires two thirds).

How To Advocate

Testifying

With the remote session, you no longer have to show up in person in Olympia, you can give testimony remotely. If you know when the committee is meeting (see the Timeline above for a list), follow these steps:

  1. Click here to go to the Washington Legislature website.

  2. Select either the House or the Senate.

  3. Select the Committee, and the Meeting (by date/time).

  4. Select the agenda item (which bill you are testifying about).

  5. Select either “I would like to submit written testimony” OR "I would like to testify live during the hearing" OR “I would like my position noted for the legislative record”

  6. Fill out the form on the next page

We have heard that system compiles these into a form that is very easy for legislators and their aides to read through, so they can easily get feedback this way.

You can see what a committee is doing by selecting it from this list, and then clicking on "Committee Schedules, Agendas and Documents". That will tell you what the committee is going to discuss, and it has a link to view the proceedings and all related documents.

Lobby Days

The Environmental Priorities Coalition is organizing three days of virtual lobbying starting on Monday, Feb 8. Sign up here.

Tracking Bills

You can track bills yourself through the Legislature site, or you can sign up with one of the environmental groups that is sending regular updates by email. 350 Washington's Civic Action Team sends emails twice a week while the session is running with updates on what bills are being heard, and how you can help on them. Climate at the Legislature has an excellent site with information on all the bills, and will also send updates. The Environmental Priorities Coalition also has an email list you can sign up with for updates. Note: when you sign up for these, the emails might end up in your Spam folder, so if you aren't seeing them, you should look there.

Other Group's State Policy Agendas

Committees

Useful Links

In the Media