How To Advocate
We don't know yet if the session will be remove or in person. Last year, it was possible to give testimony remotely using these instructions. 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.
Usually there are groups that organize supporters to lobby their legislators on particular days or weeks. When we have more information about events related to environmental lobbying, we will post it here.
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.
How Bills Are Voted into Law (or not)
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).