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
- Growth Management Act Update Affordable Housing (HB 1220) – on Governor's desk
- Preparedness for a zero emissions transportation future & Clean Cars (HB 1287) - on Governor's desk
- Washington Climate Commitment Act – Cap & Invest (SB 5126) – on Governor's desk
- HEAL Act (SB 5141) - on Governor's desk
- Reducing GHG Emissions from Fluorinated Gases (HB 1050) - on Governor's desk
- Clean Fuels (HB 1091) – passed leg, to Governor's desk
- Encouraging utility mitigation of heat island effects (HB1114) – Governor signed. Effective date: 7/25/2021
- Expands wildfire response... (HB 1168) – to the Governor
- Concerning urban and community forestry (HB 1216) – on Governor's desk
- Streamlining the environmental permitting process for salmon recovery (HB 1382) - on Governor's desk
- Delaying certain implementation dates for the photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program (HB 1393) - Governor signed. Effective date: 7/25/2021
- Prohibiting a utility from being assessed a penalty... (HB 1446) – on Governor's desk
- Facilitating the installation of broadband on limited access highways (HB 1457) - on Governor's desk
- Concerning the utility wildland fire prevention advisory committee (SB 5158) – on Governor's desk
- Transforming Recycling and Plastic Pollution Prevention Bill (SB 5022) - to the Governor
- Zero Emission Cargo Handling at Ports (SB5026) – Governor signed. Effective date: 7/25/2021
- Multiyear and performance based rate setting for gas and electrical utilities; expanded assistance for low-income customers and vulnerable populations; and supporting energy conservation measures in rental housing (SB 5295) - to the Governor
- Establishing a statewide industrial waste coordination program (SB 5345) - on Governor's desk
- Authorizes Director of Licensing to make and enforce rules for the current autonomous vehicle self-certifications testing pilot program (SB 5460) – on Governor's desk
Still in Play
- 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:
- Transportation Package – not expected
- Washington Strong (HB 1513/SB5373) –not subject to cutoff but no progress made yet
- Tax and temporary bond program to meet established GHG targets set in 2020 (HB1577) – referred to House Environment & Energy
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:
- Providing for the recycling of wind turbine blades (SB 5174)
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
- Community Solar (HB 1046) – at Environment & Energy
You can watch hearings through TVW.
If you have questions about the Legislature, and cannot find the answers here, try calling the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.
House of Origin
Policy Committee – Feb. 15
Fiscal Committee – Feb. 22
Floor – March 9
Policy Committee – March 26
Fiscal Committee – April 2
Floor – April 11
Last day of session: April 25
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
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:
Select either the House or the Senate.
Select the Committee, and the Meeting (by date/time).
Select the agenda item (which bill you are testifying about).
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”
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.
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.