The 2023 session kicks off TODAY and after two very productive, but mostly remote legislative sessions, the Senate returns to action in Olympia, in person and ready to get back to work! A busy Week 1 will feature public hearings on bills to improve access to housing, voting, helping kids get their education off to a strong start and discussions about the governor’s budget proposals.

The Senate will be in person in Olympia, but Washingtonians don’t have to be to participate in the process. Universal remote testimony will continue this year and people can weigh in on any bill before a committee from the comfort of their own homes. All the information people need to participate can be found here. 

OPENING CEREMONIES

The floor of the Washington Senate will look very different in 2023 when all members return to in person debate.
The floor of the Washington Senate will look very different in 2023 when all members return to in person debate.

Monday, January 9
Noon

The 105-day 2023 Legislation Session officially gets underway with newly elected and re-elected senators getting sworn in, as well as the adoption of rules and additional pomp and circumstance we’ve been missing the last two years. Watch on TVW.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation Chair Marko Liias.
Transportation Chair Marko Liias.

Monday, January 9
4 pm

The Transportation Committee will hear public testimony on Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2023-25 Transportation Budget. Watch on TVW.

EQUITY IN CANNABIS

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, sponsor of SB 5047.
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, sponsor of SB 5047.

Tuesday, January 10
10:30 am

The Labor & Commerce Committee will hold a public hearing on bills to help reform and make more fair the state’s recreational cannabis laws and industry. Senate Bill 5123, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, will prohibit a potential employer from requiring a cannabis screening test as a condition of employment. SB 5080, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, will expand and improve the social equity in cannabis program. Watch on TVW.

STATE OF THE STATE

Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver his annual State of the State address Tuesday.
Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver his annual State of the State address Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 10
11:30 am

Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature hosted by the House of Representatives. Watch on TVW.

ACCESS TO VOTING

Sen. Sam Hunt, sponsor of SB 5112.
Sen. Sam Hunt, sponsor of SB 5112.

Tuesday, January 10
1:30 pm

The State Government & Elections Committee will hear public comment on Senate Bill 5112, a bill sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt, which will improve the state’s automatic voter registration program by offering more opportunities for people to become automatically registered, and other efficiencies. The committee will also hear a bill sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer, SB 5082, which will eliminate expensive, confusing and non-binding advisory votes from the general election ballot. Watch on TVW.

INVESTING IN WASHINGTON

Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Ways & Means Committee.
Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Ways & Means Committee.

Tuesday, January 10
4 pm

The Ways & Means Committee will hear public testimony on the governor’s 2023-25 operating budget proposal. Watch on TVW.

HOUSING FOR ALL

Sen. Patty Kuderer, sponsor of SBs 5045 and 5060.
Sen. Patty Kuderer, sponsor of SBs 5045 and 5060.

Wednesday, January 11
1:30 pm

The Housing Committee will hear public testimony on bills aimed at making housing more affordable and available for Washingtonians. Senate Bill 5045 would give counties the authority to eliminate property taxes on accessory dwelling units in an effort to encourage renting to folks struggling to afford a home. SB 5060 would create a centralized database of all rental and vacant homes to help better understand how many homes are available and how many must be built to address the housing crisis. Watch on TVW.

A WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION

Sen. Lisa Wellman is chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Committee.
Sen. Lisa Wellman is chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Committee.

Wednesday, January 11
1:30 pm

The Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5020, which will ensure Washington’s school kids begin their education no later than age six. Our state’s current requirement that kids start school by age eight is an outlier among the rest of the country. Watch on TVW.

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION

Senate Bill 5174 will take a look at reworking the way student transportation needs are determined.
Senate Bill 5174 will take a look at reworking the way student transportation needs are determined.

Thursday, January 12
1:30 pm

The Early Learning & K-12 Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5174 which will reform and update the way we fund student transportation in the state so that all kids, regardless of where they live, have a safe and reliable way to school. Watch on TVW.

ACCESS TO BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CARE

Sen. Manka Dhingra, sponsor of SB 5120.
Sen. Manka Dhingra, sponsor of SB 5120.

Friday, January 13
8 am

The Health & Long Term Care Committee will hear from the public on Senate Bill 5120, which will establish crisis relief centers in the state. These centers will offer access to mental health and substance use care for patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Watch on TVW.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Sen. Patty Kuderer, sponsor of SB 5118.
Sen. Patty Kuderer, sponsor of SB 5118.

Friday, January 13
10:30 am

The Housing Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5118, which will modify the multifamily property tax exemption to encourage the development of long-term affordable housing. Watch on TVW.