Friends — The Washington State legislature 2022 short session ended March 10 with no “special session” [extra days] added. Follow along for our infamous Legislature Awards, and an all-up recap.
The 2022 Washington State Legislature Awards
The Real MVPs: Representatives Debra Entenmann, last year’s MVP Kirsten Harris-Talley, and Senator Joe Nguyen
These folks have been tried-and-true every single dang year, including this session’s sh*t show. They’re always down for the cause. We know, because they do more than just say it—their votes always back it up. These folks deserve all the praise and thanks from everyone in Washington state for championing and passing prison gerrymandering, Doulas 4 All, and more.
Tag Team of the Year: Senators Yasmin Trudeau & T’wina Nobles
Senator Yasmin Trudeau, the first Muslim state Senator in Washington’s history, quickly became a breakout star among WCA members and really anyone paying close attention this session. She joined Senator Nobles—who’s only been in the Senate a year longer than Trudeau—to sponsor the Local Options Bill and allow cities and counties to make their elections more equitable. While the bill didn’t pass, it did advance further than it ever has, and they put on a masterclass in how to talk about democracy reform. But, wait, there’s more! Senator Trudeau helped pass the first-of-their-kind wealth inequality and racial wealth gap studies, and unanimously passed a bill to get donor breast milk to children in need. Meanwhile, Senator Nobles passed bi-partisan legislation to lower the costs of diapers. The Pierce County duo is one of our faves in the legislature.
Most Improved Player: Representative Frank Chopp
(Seatmate of last year’s MIP Sen. Jamie Pedersen—stay consistent 43rd LD!) One of the very few Dems to vote no on both the bills that roll back police reform, Chopp has finally joined the progressive cause well after he stepped down from House Speaker. Not exactly the most courageous time to change gears—given he’s been at the legislature for 20 years.
Clutch Players of the Year: Senators Emily Randall & Mona Das
Look, we’ll be honest, we’re not always happy with how they vote. They’ll tell you they’re in “tough districts” which is code for “if you had to deal with the editorial boards and over-engaged car dealership owners that I have to deal with, you’d be voting like me too.” But unlike the roadkill caucus, these swing district state senators (try saying that five times fast) are clutch players: They’re there for you when you need them most. Senator Das made an admirable effort to get us more housing and better presidential primaries, while Senator Randall passed a bill that makes bosses post salaries when looking to hire. Like Russel Westbrook, swing district-ers will inevitably misfire and disappoint you from time to time but remember, when the shot clock is counting down on taxing the capital gains of some of the richest people in human history, you can count on them getting all-net.
Bi-Partisan Republican Champ of the Year: Senator Ann Rivers
In the long-and-celebrated two-year history of our awards, we’ve yet to have a Republican winner. Other than radical Republicans of the American abolitionist movement, and the 3 whole minutes Mitt Romney marched in the streets, Republicans haven’t really had much to offer working class communities of color. And while a huge part of River’s record is worth disagreeing with, here’s why she stands out from the rest: She’s actually trying to improve our democracy. More than that, she partnered with Senator Das to advance ranked-choice voting for presidential primaries. Advancing reforms like that is one of the most important things we can do to build the multiracial democracy America promises but has never delivered on. That’s worth an award, even for a Republican.
Most Unreliable goes to…
Representative Roger Goodman. Nobody flip-flops like this guy! One minute, Goodman is in meetings for Black lives and the next, he’s spearheading one of the worst police reforms with the Legislature’s right-wing Republican to harm them instead! Cop lobby got his tongue?
The Catfish: Senator Tim Sheldon
Ostensibly a Democrat—“Democrat”—who benefits from caucusing with the entire Republican Party, one that openly embraces white supremacy and believes an attempt to insurrect the nation’s Capitol is legitimate.
The Generally Pointless: Representatives J.T. and Lynda Wilson, Mike Volz, Jim Walsh, Jenny Graham, and Senator Curtis King
We were tempted to throw the whole GOP Caucus in here, but these folks stick out in particular because they don’t seem to vote for anything, much less anything that passes. We acknowledge and appreciate their commitment to doing the absolute least. Anyway, moving on…
Most Likely to Really Think They Did Something
This one goes out to Senators Kevin Van De Wege, Ann Rivers, Mark Schoesler, Shelly Short, Chris Gildon, and Judith Warnick for teaming up to undermine, via feigning support with an amendment that explicitly removes, climate crisis resiliency and mitigation. Look. You’re not sly. In fact, it’s really easy to see when legislators voted against a bill the previous session and then voted for the same bill after a poison pill was added in the next. Hope Van De Wege doesn’t campaign or ask for money based on being a climate change advocate! Because he’s not. And we’re letting folks know
2022 Session Recap
(You can check out who stood where, especially your own representatives, on each of the bills below here.)
🌎 Mitigate The Climate Crisis (HB 1099)
Because the House refused to agree with the Senate’s poison pill amendment (AKA removing all teeth and climate change references), they concluded March 9 conferences to address it (shout out to Reps. Fitzgibbon, Dye, Duerr and Sen. Lovelett). Which meant the Senate and House had to vote on HB 1099 once more afterward. While the Senate passed HB 1099 on the last day of session, the House failed to bring the (at this point) same exact bill they previously approved to the floor again for a vote. We keep hearing a lot of legislators blame it on a short session, Republicans postering over the budget beforehand with deliberately long debates, and just general excuses, but the fact of the matter is, the House didn’t return until 8:45pm when they could’ve returned at 7 on the last day of session. So, by our counts, HB 1099 could’ve become law but they let it languish. See who voted how on HB 1099 over the course of the session, though!
🎉 End Prison Gerrymandering (SB 5583) is now law!
The governor has signed it and it’s set to take affect June 9th this year.
The following weren’t even given a hearing, and were subsequently axed very early in the short session:
- 🚫 Ending Qualified Immunity for Police (HB 1202)
- 🔀 Independent Investigations for Police (HB 1507)
- 🔎 Community Oversight of Police (HB 1203)
- 🇺🇸 Presidential Ranked-Choice Voting (HB 1926 & SB 5851)
The police accountability bills not getting so much as a hearing is perhaps the most disturbing. Legislators didn’t just fail to build on the progress from last year, they actively rolled back our communities’ victories. Doing nothing would’ve been bad enough, but they chose to actively make things worse.
The ones that were only given a chance in one Committee, then legislators prevented them from continuing:
- 🏦 Billionaire Wealth Tax (HB 1406 & SB 5426)
- 🗳️ Local Options for Local Elections (SB 5584)
- 💌 Unemployment Insurance for Every Worker (SB 5348)
- 📆 Even year Elections (HB 1727)
Last but not least, the one that passed a whole Chamber only to be abruptly stopped by a legislators in the the other: 📜 Improve the Washington Voting Rights Act (SB 5597)
This one was pretty upsetting to watch because it sailed so smoothly through the first half of session. Legislators in the House decided to start some last-minute concern-trolling that halted much-needed voter protections, in light of partisan redistricting.
What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @WACommAlliance. Keep up with the action and opportunities to get involved with our legislative newsletter The Tally.