What is the legislative newsletter?

DRW will provide a weekly update each Saturday morning during the 2021 Legislative Session. View the most recent newsletter sent out below! If you are interested in receiving this weekly newsletter, please subscribe below. 

February 20, 2021

Image Description: Picture of the top of the Washington State Capital Building with blue sky behind it. Text over the sky reads, “2021 Legislative Newsletter.” Below picture is the Disability Rights Washington logo with a blue graphic of a tree and the words “Washington’s protection and advocacy system” written underneath.

WEEK SEVEN: “Floor” action! 

We have now passed the first cut-off – this past Monday, February 15 – for bills to pass their policy committee. This Monday is the cut-off for bills that have a fiscal impact to be passed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee or House Appropriations Committee. Another cut-off looms in two weeks – Monday, May 9 – when all bills must pass out of their “house of origin”. That means that bills that originate in the House must be passed and sent to the Senate, and all bills that originate in the Senate must be passed and sent to the House.

If you look at next week’s committee calendar, you will see that there will be last-minute hearings and votes in the fiscal committees in order to get some bills out before the cut-off on Monday, but after that the schedule indicates that the House and Senate will be in full session, or in caucus.

On the Legislative schedule, “Caucus” refers to the time the Republicans and Democrats spend meeting separately, usually to discuss how they are going to vote on various bills and their strategies. In the House and in the Senate, there is a Republican caucus and a Democratic caucus meeting most days – some times several times a day – when the Senate or the House are in session and meeting as a group.

So, after Monday’s cut off this week there will be plenty of opportunities to see the Senate and the House in full session debating and voting on bills. Bills that had been heard in the committees now be on the “floor” – meaning that they will be discussed by the whole Senate or House and voted on. This is called “Floor Action” and can be fascinating. There will be last minute amendments, and on some bills speeches indicating strong disagreement. Each body will be working hard right up till March 9. In fact, there are meetings of the Senate and House scheduled right through the weekend – next Saturday and Sunday.

TVW covers this activity “gavel to gavel”. If you want to testify at one of the hearings next week (there are a few), or want to send a comment to your legislator, here’s the link: https://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Participating.aspx

Thank you to the advocates who attended last week’s Storytelling Workshop with us!

Check out our 9 Components of Your Story for a guide on how to write your story with a purpose.

Screenshot taken during a zoom meeting while a powerpoint presentation was on screen. Bar on right side shows camera views from 5 participants. Powerpoint screen reads, "5. Why is this issue important to you? - Why are you speaking out on this issue? - Why are you motivated to do something about this?" Text below is cut off.

Screenshot taken during last Saturday’s Storytelling Workshop with Darya, David, Josh, Beverly, and Dana.

Budget conversations are heating up!

This week DRW recruited 21 organizations to sign on to a paper opposing the building of a new $612 million forensic hospital. Instead of funding this hospital advocates believe the State should bring the experts to the table and discuss alternative investments in housing, diversion, and community behavioral health services. Read the paper here

The sub-minimum wage bill was voted out of the Senate today, and is moving into the House! 

Thank you to Senator Randall for sponsoring the Subminimum Wage Bill passed yesterday with a vote of 42 to 7.

Learn more about SB 5284 here. Congratulations to all the advocates who have worked on this over the years…on to the House!Content

Upcoming Virtual Events and Trainings:

This year all public participation in the legislature will be done online.

How do I sign up to testify?

There are three ways to interact with hearings: 1) sign up to testify live 2) submit written testimony 3) sign in on the record in support, opposition, or other. How to do all three of these actions and where to find them on the legislature’s website can be found in our Remote Testimony Written and Video Guide.

Need to email House or Senate members of a committee?

We’ve gathered and organized the email addresses of each committee’s members, legislative assistants, and staff. Visit our House and Senate Email Lists page for a quick way to copy and paste these email addresses into your message.

Where can I find more legislative resources?

DRW and CDAN have teamed up to create a page dedicated to legislative resources. There you will find documents created by DRW, links to the legislative website, and more! Do you have a legislative resource that others may find helpful? Send an email to mekdesa@dr-wa.org.