FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Mar. 5, 2020

Das sponsors concurrent resolution to modernize Legislature

OLYMPIA — Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent) has introduced a concurrent resolution that would update and improve practices at the Washington State Legislature in an effort to make legislative processes more efficient and inclusive. SCR 8412 is cosponsored by members of both Senate caucuses.

“This is a measured, bipartisan approach to ensuring that the Legislature has strong procedures in place as we update, revitalize and streamline this environment. My resolution brings many voices together to do this,” Das said.

“Systemic barriers exist in this institution, whether in the technology we use or the information we make available or the hiring practices we apply, and it’s time to take those barriers down. The goal of this policy is to create a work environment where public servants – staff and legislators – can thrive, and where the public feels comfortable and able to access this space. Washington is an advanced, diverse and innovative state, and our Legislature should reflect that.”

“This concurrent resolution opens the door for collaboration between legislative community members,” said Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane), the Senate Majority Leader. “I’m grateful for Sen. Das’s leadership in this effort to make the legislature the best it can be.”

Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) testified in favor of the resolution this morning and said, “My office saves about eight hours a day thanks to technology. They use the time they save working with me on policy and building connections with our constituents. We all need a tech update to serve our districts better, and this concurrent resolution could get us there.”

The concurrent resolution establishes a joint select committee of 12 voting members and 16 nonvoting members drawn from a variety of legislative workgroups. Members would be selected from both chambers and all four legislative caucuses, as well as from various administrative offices. The committee would be tasked with creating recommendations that address the promotion of a more “modern and efficient” Legislature.

The recommendations will reflect themes that include technology, innovation, administrative efficiency, improved public access to documents, and staff recruitment and professional development measures. This approach is similar to that of a bill sponsored by Rep. Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way) in the House, and aims to replicate outcomes similar to the goals of Congressman Derek Kilmer’s (WA-06) recently proposed federal legislation to modernize Congress.

SCR 8412 was heard in the Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections at 8:00am on Thursday, March 5.

 

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For information:

Hannah Sabio-Howell, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326

For interviews:

Sen. Mona Das, 360-786-7692