Legislative Priorities for 2021

Our Legislative Action Committee (LAC) works to inform and call the membership to action in support or opposition of bills and ordinances in the WA State Legislature, county or city councils, school boards, and other local governments within the district. The LAC has spent weeks focused on building this year’s legislative agenda, poring over the various bills and initiatives proposed by House and Senate legislators in the current session. Scroll down this page to learn about the 19 bills across 8 different categories, each of which were highlighted as a priority by 40% or more among 45th LD Democrat survey respondents.

Learn more about each bill by clicking the bill number in the table below, which will take you to the relevant Bill Information page on the WA State Legislature website. And make your voice heard via the Comment link next to each bill. (More ways to participate, such as emailing a member of the House or Senate or testifying in a virtual meeting, can be explored here.)

You can track this page for updates on the status of these bills. The LAC will also post updates to the 45th Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  • Affordable & Sustainable Housing
  • Budget & Revenue Reform
  • Climate & Environmental Protection
  • Education
  • Electoral Reform
  • Healthcare
  • Police Accountability
  • Technology

Affordable & Sustainable Housing

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1236 Protecting residential tenants from the beginning to end of their tenancies by penalizing the inclusion of unlawful lease provisions and limiting the reasons for eviction, refusal to continue, and termination.Would ensure that landlords cannot evict a tenant without having a legitimate reason to do so. Without this protection, rental assistance and other protections are less effective, because landlords can simply issue a 20-day notice to make someone move.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment
SB 5160 Addressing landlord-tenant relations by providing certain tenant protections during and after public health emergencies, providing for legal representation in eviction cases, and authorizing landlord access to state rental assistance programs.Would provide legal representation for tenants facing eviction, require repayment plans for unpaid rent during the pandemic, and ensure that landlords and tenants can access state rental assistance programs.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment
HB 1220 Supporting emergency shelters and housing through local planning and development regulations.A comprehensive bill that offers a needed update to the Growth Management Act. The bill requires cities to plan for a diversity of housing options and reduce barriers to building shelters, permanent supportive housing, and other multifamily housing.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment

Budget & Revenue Reform

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
SB 5096 Concerning an excise tax on gains from the sale or exchange of certain capital assets.Tax of 9% on financial long term gains beginning January 1st 2022, excluding the first 25,000 per individual; 50,000 per couple.In conferenceComment

Climate & Environmental Protection

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1099 Improving the state’s climate response through updates to the state’s comprehensive planning framework.Would update the GMA to ensure that our communities are planning for climate-resilient futures that protect our most vulnerable communities and that our largest counties are planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled.Passed House, in SenateComment

Education

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1213 Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early childhood development programs.Would expand affordable and accessible childcare through a Fair Start program, overseen by an Investment Accountability and Oversight council. It would also offer financial aid to families meeting certain financial thresholds.Passed House, in SenateComment
HB 1295 Providing public education to youth in or released from institutional education facilities.Will offer youth involved with the juvenile justice system the opportunity to receive the education they deserve, the education our constitution says every child deserves.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment
HB 1370 Concerning grants for early learning facilities.The state administers a grant and low-cost loan program that helps eligible non-profit organizations plan, renovate, purchase, and build early learning facilities. This bill lifts the caps on grants and loans in an effort to bring them more in line with current costs.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment

Electoral Reform

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1078 Restoring voter eligibility for all persons convicted of a felony offense who are not in total confinement under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections.Restores voting right to Formerly Incarcerated Persons immediately upon release from prison.Signed into law April 7, 2021Comment

Healthcare

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1272 Concerning health system transparency.Healthcare System Transparency Requires hospitals to disclose detailed financial information, including salaries and sources of income to the Health Dept. Disaggregates patient data by race, primary language, gender, income, any disability, and zip code Reports on critical staffing and patient mortality rates to include race of labor and delivery patients Requires details on community health improvement services provided by hospitals Provides data to understand the true cost of healthcare .Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment

Police Accountability

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1054 Establishing requirements for tactics and equipment used by peace officers.Would prohibit chokeholds and neck restraints, the use of unleashed dogs to arrest or apprehend, the concealment of badge numbers, and “no-knock” warrants. It would also ban the use of tear gas for any purpose, military equipment, and the practice of officers intentionally concealing their badges.In conferenceComment
HB 1092 Concerning law enforcement data collection.Would establish comprehensive statewide reporting and publication for use-of-force incidents involving law enforcement.In the HouseComment
HB 1267 Concerning investigation of potential criminal conduct arising from police use of force, including custodial injuries, and other officer-involved incidents.Would create an independent oversight agency to investigate police misconduct and hold law enforcement accountable by ensuring internal investigations are done outside of the police department in order to build back trust between the police and the general public. The bill calls for the creation of that agency under the office of the Governor. The agency would create regional teams that could respond to a deadly use of force within one hour to secure the scene and process evidence. After a transition period, current and former law enforcement officers would be prohibited from serving with the agency so that if can remain free from bias.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment
HB 1310 Concerning permissible uses of force by law enforcement and correctional officers.Would build on the improvements to the police use of force statute enacted by Initiative 940. This new proposal makes clear that de-escalation attempts must be made before force can be used.In conferenceComment
SB 5066 Concerning a peace officer’s duty to intervene.Would establish clear standards for police officers to intervene when fellow officers use force unjustly and to report any wrongdoing by fellow officers.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment
SB 5263 Concerning defenses in personal injury and wrongful death actions where the person injured or killed was committing a felony.Would modify a 1986 law that has prevented people who have been killed or injured by police from recovering damages from police departments.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment

Technology

Bill Number & TitleSummaryStatusComment
HB 1336 Requiring school districts to prioritize the resumption of in-person instruction to certain students following an emergency.Removes all state restrictions on public utilities providing broadband access directly to consumers. Washington has long restricted public utilities and some other governments from offering broadband service directly to their residents. Telecoms have had decades to build out fiber networks but there are still regions in our state that are internet deserts or have very poor access. That’s inequitable and unacceptable. The bill gives our local public utilities a chance to provide this essential service to people who need it to work, go to school, or attend a telemedicine appointment.In conferenceComment
SB 5383 Authorizing a public utility district to provide retail telecommunications services in unserved areas under certain conditions.A bipartisan effort to enhance equitable access to telecommunication by allowing public utility districts to provide retail telecommunication services in unserved areas, effectively expanding the market. Under current law, a public utility district is not authorized to provide these services. We need more parties involved and providing the connectivity needed to access work, medicine, or school remotely.In conferenceComment
SB 5401 Authorizing community and technical colleges to offer bachelor degrees in computer science.This bill will allow community and technical colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in computer science. As a state that is proud of its status as a tech hub, this is an important step towards equity for communities currently underrepresented in the technology sector. There are literally thousands of tech jobs waiting to be filled.Passed House, Senate, ready for Gov to signComment