OLYMPIA – The 2019 Legislature will officially be gaveled into session today at the Capitol. New and recently re-elected representatives and senators will be sworn in starting at noon. TVW.org will stream the ceremonies and speeches live. Follow the Senate Democrats on Facebook and Twitter for updates today and throughout the session.

It has only been a year since Senate Democrats took control the Senate after five years of Republican control. Last year, the Legislature cast bipartisan votes to move the state forward on issues like education, voting rights, net neutrality, equal pay and women’s health — and passed two capital construction budgets. Democratic majorities in both chambers of the Legislature grew as a result of the November election. This year Senate Democrats remain committed to putting people first by targeting job training and education, behavioral health services, clean air and water, affordable health care, and an economy where everyone has a fighting chance to find a path to prosperity. 

New faces in the Senate

From left: Sens. Mona Das (D-Covington), Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), Joe Nguyen (D-White Center), and Emily Randall (D-Bremerton).

Senate Democrats will welcome five new members on Monday. Mona Das was born in India and moved to the U.S. at eight months old. It helps inform her efforts in her community on behalf of women’s and immigrants’ rights groups. Joe Nguyen, a second-generation Vietnamese American, has helped lead efforts in his community on issues related to affordable housing and police relations. Emily Randall is a community organizer and the daughter of two union workers. She plans to focus on affordable college tuition, apprenticeships, and job training programs. Jesse Salomon is an attorney with the King County Department of Public Defense, a Shoreline city councilmember and a former child welfare prosecutor. Claire Wilson is an educator who has spent three decades specializing in early education and family involvement.

Click here to view bios of the entire Senate Democratic Caucus.

New leadership in 2019

Senate Democrats elected new leadership in November. Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) was elected to serve as the new Senate majority leader. Billig has served in the Legislature since 2010. One of the two deputy leaders, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), is a former labor organizer who worked with farmworkers in eastern Washington. The other, Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), is a prosecutor who has led community-wide efforts to prevent domestic violence in King County. Both broke barriers upon entering the Senate: Saldana became the only Latina in the chamber, while Dhingra became the first Sikh woman ever elected to a state legislature. Read more about the team.

Hearings to watch this week




The committee will hear compromise legislation (SB 5039) that makes changes to Initiative 940, which was passed by voters in November. The measure aims to address officer-involved shootings and ensure that police have the tools they need to respond to people in crisis.



Senators will hear a briefing on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report and the National Climate Assessment — plus an overview of proposals for carbon emissions reductions in 2019.


TUESDAY @ 3:30 P.M.

Members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee will get a briefing on Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal. This year lawmakers will write the state’s two-year budget, which pays for education, human services, corrections, natural resources, and more.

WEDNESDAY @ 8 a.m.


Lawmakers will hear an update and analysis of voter turnout for the 2018 election and have a hearing on legislation to ensure every future Washington ballot includes pre-paid postage (SB 5063). STATE


THURSDAY @ 10 a.m.

Lawmakers will hear the governor’s plan (SB 5116) to transition the state to an entirely carbon-free electricity supply by 2045. They will also hear an important bill aimed at improving appliance efficiency standards (SB 5115).