We knew the 2021 Legislative Session was going to be different than past years and present some not-so-happy surprises along the way. The remote nature of the session created some significant challenges in shepherding legislation through the process and understanding why some legislation hit unexpected roadblocks along the way. In the face of these difficulties, some significant pieces of legislation have made their way out of the legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.
In response to the remote session and some of the economic concerns that were present at the onset of the session, fewer bills were introduced this year than most budget years in preparation for the challenges of a remote session during a pandemic. Despite the challenges of 2021, two historic pieces of legislation were able to make it through the legislature and onto the governor’s desk including the Fair Start for Kids Act (Senate Bill 5237), which substantially expands access to high-quality early learning and childcare, and the passage of a Capital Gains Tax (Senate Bill 5096), which will generate up to $500 million per year in additional funding to support education and early learning. Both of these must still be signed by Gov. Inslee to become law, but the Capital Gains Tax is expected to face legal challenges once it gets signed into law.
We are also happy to report that a few other key bills were passed and funded by the legislature, including: Read More
By Kellen Hoard, Chair, Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council
The Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) is codified in law as the official youth advisory body to the state legislature, and its activities are wide-ranging. Throughout the year, 14-to-18-year-old student members of the council actively lobby legislators, testify in committee, advise various government agencies, host events around the state, collaborate with nearly 200 community organizations, and much more. LYAC also spends much time conversing with young people in every corner of Washington about their priorities in order to be a more effective advocate to the legislature, and this year the council has heard consistently that one of the top concerns for students is mental health. Read More
In this webinar, Washington state Representative Tana Senn and Senator Claire Wilson, prime sponsors of the Fair Start for Kids Act (House Bill 1213 and Senate Bill 5237), explain how their omnibus legislation takes strong steps to address child care and early learning affordability, access, and the economic crisis. They also answered questions from the audience.
The Washington state Legislative Session started this Monday, where hundreds of bills concerning early learning, safe and supportive schools, local levies/LEA, special education, etc. are being introduced in either the Senate or House of Representatives.
In this webinar, League of Education Voters Director of Policy and Research Jacob Vela and government relations consultant Carey Morris give an overview of the 2021 legislative landscape, outline our priorities for the 2021 legislative session, and answer questions.