Skip to main content

4th Annual Session Awards

By March 18, 2024March 21st, 2024Blog
Graphic for The Tally blog titled "4th Annual Session Awards" with a photo of a pink award and rainbow confetti against a pink background.

Theydies and Gentlethems—

The time has come for our 4th Annual Session Awards. pause for fanfare.

While our bills all came to a brutal, bitter end we are thankful for the hours put into this session to keep pushing forward together. You’ll notice our list of awards this year is shorter than past years. Here at The Tally we name both our villains and our heroes so we started our Session Awards as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of our legislative champions. But this year we are seriously disappointed and seeing a return to pre-pandemic legislating.

Legislators are reverting progressive policies, walking back promises made to communities, refusing to pass new revenue measures, and embracing their treasured paternalism once more. Check out the awards worthy of being given this year and then let’s talk about some winners and losers from this session.

🥇 Most Valuable Players: Tally subscribers – YOU! Y’all are the real MVPs this year. You all took over 400 actions this session to support our priority bills and we could not be more grateful for you. But honestly this isn’t meant to be a participation trophy of sorts. You all are our MVPs because no one in the legislature is worthy of the title this year.

🇺🇸 Joe Biden Bipartisanship Award: Rep. Greg Cheney (R-18) for working across the aisle to support policies that build a stronger, better democracy for us all. After speaking against Even Year Elections repeatedly, Rep. Cheney ultimately put the democratic process first, and in his own words “we all want [greater voter turnout].” Which is why he voted in favor of HB 1932 on final passage! It definitely wasn’t a mistake that he’s embarrassed about so definitely don’t email him thanking him for his support of Even Year Elections.

👍 Most Improved Since Getting Removed as Housing Committee Chair: Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46) hasn’t held back any housing policy this session! Good job, buddy! In fact, he even signed on as a cosponsor for rent stabilization this session. Maybe Senator Annette Cleveland (D-49) could take a lesson from Rep. Pollet.

🥊 Most Offensive Player of the Year: Sen. Phil Fortunato (R-31) wins for most offensive player of the year. Not that he’s good at playing offense, but because he is hands down the most offensive person you will find in the legislature. We remember when Sen. Fortunato laughed at a staffer during their first bill presentation and had to be verbally reprimanded by former Ways & Means Chair Christine Rofles.

🛡️ Defensive Player of the Year: Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D-27), we didn’t want to repeat any awards but Sen. Trudeau is the only reason we didn’t lose more ground this session. Leadership is happy to roll back progressive wins of the past four years and reject nearly every new revenue proposal possible. The good news is that with a wave of retirements hitting the State Senate, Sen. Trudeau may be joined by more defensive allies in 2025.

🎯 Rookie of the Year: Rep. Greg Nance (D-23) bounced into Olympia with a youthful, refreshed energy only a newly appointed freshman legislator could have. As the only newbie in the state legislature (other than 18 year old legislator-for-a-day appointed by dad, Lilian Hale (R-19)) for this session he kind of wins by default. But we’re still happy to report he doesn’t win by a handout, he actually had three successful bills this session including HB 2112 which will improve opioid and fentanyl use harm reduction methods at higher ed institutions. That’s a win and a big one for a rookie, too.

🏆 Coach of the Year: Sen. Sam Hunt (D-22), as a lifetime coach and leader in the state legislature. Sen. Hunt used his Chairship of Senate State Government & Elections to expand access to our democracy and that is absolutely award-worthy. It’s very clear he wants to make sure all the voices are heard, so this award is for a career well worn. Thank you for your service to Washington, the 22nd LD, and our democracy as a whole. We hope Rep. Bateman (D-22) hasn’t started measuring the floorplan of your office yet …

👯🏽‍♀️ Team of the Year: Legislative Staff, you did it sweeties. Similar to our MVP award, we’re giving this to you because most of our legislators honestly don’t deserve it. But we know regardless of the bullsh*t our legislators are on, there is a group of really hard working people in Olympia that deserve to be uplifted for keeping the legislature moving. Give yourselves a pat on the back, and hopefully some time off.

The legislative session can appear to be super competitive, when it’s really just a series of orchestrated political moves, we know that. We’ve played this game before and know we don’t always win. Last year we had some truly remarkable victories but progress isn’t linear and we won’t walk away from every session with wins for our community, but we can walk with our heads held high anyway. Here’s a recap of some of this sessions’ winners and losers:


  • Brian Heywood – Bankroller of the Let’s Go [Backward] Washington initiatives
    • Three of the Let’s Go Washington initiatives passed the legislature
      • I-2111 – an initiative to prohibit income taxes from being imposed on residents by cities, counties or the state
      • I-2081 – an initiative ensuring parents have the “right” to review education materials, receive notifications, and opt out of the sexual-health education initiative.
      • I-2113 – an initiative to rollback reasonable limits on police pursuits passed by legislative Democrats in the last few years
    • Heywood and the initiative supporters won at the expense of the people of Washington – for now. Because those initiatives were passed by the legislature, rather than the people, they can be amended 90 days after implantation. And you can be pretty damn sure we’re going to fight to do that on Day 1 of the 2025 session.
  • Landlords
  • Strippers
    • The Strippers’ Bill of Rights finally passed through the legislature and now awaits Governor Inslee’s signature! For decades dancers have suffered from criminalizing regulations that prescribe down to the inch what they can wear and how they can move. The Strippers’ Bill of Rights grants dancers fundamental equal rights in their work and ends archaic and paternalistic laws that treat them as second-class citizens. Way to go babes 💖
    • However, opposition like Seattle’s Republican City Attorney Ann Davison are calling on Governor Inslee to use his veto powers and strip the bill of its partial decriminalization language. Tell Inslee not to cave to the pressure and sign SB 6105 into law without any changes!
  • Big Business Lobby (Association of Washington Business)
    • The lil gift card bill that could actually failed so Starbucks and Nordstrom won this year. To which we can all take a sigh of relief that finally we have a year of healthy corporate profit margins. AWB is really looking out for the little guy, and by little guy we mean the mermaid on your Starbucks rewards card.
  • Early Learning Advocates
    • Billig prioritized early learning in his final session and advocates saw some impressive wins for kids.


  • Secretary of State Steve Hobbs
    • Hobbs killed good democracy bills like Even Year Elections and the VOICES Act, but the bills he championed also died. Maybe next year he shouldn’t put his eggs in so many baskets, mind his own, and quit the shit. Remember, he was appointed SOS because he was so disliked in the Senate, and he hasn’t had a warm welcome back since his departure.
  • Sen. Jeff Holy (R-06)
    • He just is a loser. He was the only legislator to vote against the Child Marriage Ban. That’s loser behavior for sure.
  • Working Families
    • Progressive revenue didn’t pass this year, undocumented workers didn’t get funding for unemployment insurance, and the rest of our priority bills died.
  • Roadkill Caucus
    • With two members (Mark Mullet & Kevin Van De Wege) lost from the Senate once they (inevitably) lose their elections this cycle, corporate lobbyists will be left with just a single ring-leader in Annette Cleveland. We’re happy to see these losers go.

What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @WACommAlliance.
Keep up on the action and opportunities to get involved through our legislative newsletter, The Tally.