OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig on Thursday released the statement below following the adjournment of the 2022 legislative session:

“There is a feeling that finally, as a state and as Washingtonians, we are turning the page.

“But as we turn the page, we can’t forget the lessons we have learned. The pandemic showed us how much we have by taking so much of it away.

“It shuttered some businesses and brought others to the brink. It challenged our physical and mental health. It closed our schools, it cost thousands of people their jobs and many their homes.

“And for more than 12,000 Washington families, the pandemic took away much more.

“But it showed us what’s important. It defined our priorities for us and exposed exactly what needed to be done.

“With those lessons in mind, we took steps to keep people in their homes and make housing more affordable for all. At the same time, we recognized the severity and urgency of the mental health crisis. We took life-saving steps to ensure Washingtonians of all ages have better access to compassionate care.

“We provided for Washington’s students and teachers, who have been through so much these past two years, making sure they have the resources to get back on track, and ensuring that all kids have access to nurses and counselors.

“We eliminated the state’s business tax for more than 125,000 of Washington’s smallest businesses, provided disaster relief funding for hardest-hit businesses, and unemployment insurance relief for all Washington businesses.

“COVID also taught us that we must strive for more than business as usual. That’s why we passed Move Ahead Washington, a transportation investment plan that reimagines the way we fund transportation, putting the environment, transit and communities that have been most negatively impacted by past planning decisions at the heart of it.

“We live in the greatest state in the country. The pandemic tested our resolve like nothing has before. But today, what we hope is the other end of this crisis, we emerge stronger, and better prepared for whatever comes next.”