Week 2 of the 2023 legislative session begins with the Senate’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day. The week will also feature policies aimed at tackling affordability, improving gun safety, increasing access to affordable housing, mitigating the effects of climate change, and much, much more.

WASHINGTON FUTURE FUND

Sen. Yasmin Trudeau is the sponsor of SB 5125.
Sen. Yasmin Trudeau is the sponsor of SB 5125.

Monday, January 16
10:30 am

The Human Services Committee will hear public testimony on the Washington Future Fund (Senate Bill 5125.) The bill, sponsored by Sen. Yasmin Trudeau, seeks to break the cycle of generational poverty by making a one-time deposit of $4,000 into an account for each baby in Washington born into poverty. Over the next 18 years, these “Baby Bonds” will gather interest and can be accessed if certain conditions are met, helping out Washingtonians who might not otherwise be able to put a down payment on a home, go to college or start a business. You can read more on this issue from the Seattle Times here. Watch on TVW.

GENDER-BASED PRICE DISCRIMINATION

Sen. Manka Dhingra is the sponsor of SB 5171.
Sen. Manka Dhingra is the sponsor of SB 5171.

Monday, January 16
10:30 am

The Law & Justice Committee will hear from the public on the issue of gender-based price discrimination. Senate Bill 5171, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, will ban the so-called “pink tax” — when companies charge more for products marketed to women than for similar products marketed to men. This bill is similar to measures recently enacted in New York and California. Watch on TVW.

MLK DAY

Sen. T'wina Nobles is sponsor of Senate Bill 5339.
Sen. T'wina Nobles is sponsor of Senate Bill 5339.

Monday, January 16
12:30 pm

The Senate will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on the eve of what would have been his 94th birthday. Watch on TVW.

CLIMATE ACTION

Sen. Liz Lovelett is sponsor of SB 5203.
Sen. Liz Lovelett is sponsor of SB 5203.

Tuesday, January 17
8 am

As the climate crisis worsens, the Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs Committee will listen to public testimony on Senate Bill 5203. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett, looks to ensure that local planning processes address climate change and resiliency by updating the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). Watch on TVW.

GUN SAFETY

Sen. Jamie Pedersen, sponsor of SB 5078.
Sen. Jamie Pedersen, sponsor of SB 5078.

Tuesday, January 17
10:30 am

Senate Democrats will continue our work on common sense gun laws with a public hearing on Senate Bill 5078. This policy, sponsored by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, would allow victims of gun violence and the Attorney General’s Office to sue firearm dealers and manufacturers when they fail to take reasonable steps to ensure firearms aren’t used in an illegal way or accessed by a person not allowed to possess them. Watch on TVW.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY

Sens. Andy Billig and Manka Dhingra will answer press questions Monday.
Sens. Andy Billig and Manka Dhingra will answer press questions Monday.

Tuesday, January 17
1:30 pm

Senate and House Democratic Leadership will answer questions from the press during their weekly media availability. Watch on TVW.

REDUCING PLASTIC WASTE

Sen. Christine Rolfes, sponsor of the WRAP Act.
Sen. Christine Rolfes, sponsor of the WRAP Act.

Tuesday, January 17
1:30 pm

The Environment, Energy & Technology Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5154, the Washington Recycling and Packaging Act, an effort to reduce plastic waste by cutting back on the amount of wasteful plastic packaging being produced. The WRAP Act, sponsored by Sen. Christine Rolfes, will hold plastic-producing companies responsible for improving recycling techniques and offer incentives to reduce plastic waste, more than half of which ends up in landfills and incinerators. You can read more on the bill here. Watch on TVW.

RECESS!

Senate Democrats are pro recess.
Senate Democrats are pro recess.

Wednesday, January 18
1:30 pm

Who doesn’t love recess? Well it turns out recess is not only fun, it’s a crucial element of a student’s social and emotional development. The Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee will hear Senate Bill 5257, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles, which ensures that all students will receive a sufficient amount of daily recess. Watch on TVW.

REDUCING HOMELESSNESS

SB 5202 will provide money for projects to address Washington's housing shortage.
SB 5202 will provide money for projects to address Washington's housing shortage.

Wednesday, January 18
1:30 pm

The Housing Committee will hear testimony on Senate Bill 5202, the Washington Housing Crisis Response Act. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Yasmin Trudeau, would provide new money for capital programs and 21 projects that are critical to addressing Washington’s housing crisis. Watch on TVW.

CHILDCARE ACCESS AND INVESTMENTS

Sen. Claire Wilson will talk about efforts to expand access to quality childcare.
Sen. Claire Wilson will talk about efforts to expand access to quality childcare.

Wednesday, January 18
1:45 pm

Access to affordable, quality childcare is an enormous issue in our state and nationally. Our own Sen. Claire Wilson will be joined by Sen. Patty Murray to discuss past and future efforts in both Washingtons to address this crucial need for families across our state and country. Watch on TVW.

GROWING OUR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH WORKFORCE

SB 5189 will grow Washington’s behavioral health workforce.
SB 5189 will grow Washington’s behavioral health workforce.

Thursday, January 19
10:30 am

The Health & Long Term Care Committee will hear Senate Bill 5189 which establishes the role of behavioral health support specialist. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Yasmin Trudeau, will help address workforce shortage issues in the profession and help people access behavioral health care by creating new positions of certified, behavioral health professionals who can deliver brief, evidence-based behavioral health interventions under the supervision of a credentialed medical provider. Watch on TVW.

SPECIAL 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.

Thursday, January 19
1:30 pm

The Early Learning & K-12 Committee will hear a slate of bills ensuring that the needs of students requiring special education are met. Senate Bill 5031 will invest additional dollars to strengthen the special education safety net, while SB 5311 takes a look at reforming the special education funding formula. Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman. SB 5315, sponsored by Sen. Claire Wilson, increases accountability for non-public agencies providing services to special education students. Watch on TVW.

WASHINGTON VOTING RIGHTS ACT

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

Friday, January 20
8 am

The State Government & Elections Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5047, which updates the Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA). The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, will make it simpler and more affordable to take legal action against a jurisdiction suspected of violating the rules of the WVRA. Watch on TVW.