Dear neighbors,

Each year since I came to the Senate, we have finished on time, with a balanced budget that puts people first. This year was no different. Last Thursday, when we passed the budget and brought the 2022 legislative session to a close, marked the first time since 1899 that the Washington State Legislature has finished on time for five sessions in a row.

Our state has a lot to be proud of. Our state budgets over the past several years have earned and maintained our first ever AAA bond rating from Moody’s. CNBC and others have ranked us one of the top 10 states for businesses at the same time as Oxfam has ranked us the best state for workers.

Even though we were the site of the first Covid outbreak in the US, Washington has the seventh-lowest death rate of any state. And a study from this summer about how state economies handled the pandemic ranked Washington the best in the country. It’s no surprise to Washingtonians that U.S. News ranked us the number-one state to live in two years in a row.

The work we did this session, with your help, will continue to build a strong foundation for an even brighter future in our state.

Investing in communities

Our budget is our values statement, and this year’s budget puts people first—just as we have done in every year since Democrats regained the Senate majority in 2018. We invested in expanding our behavioral health workforce, rapidly increasing the supply of affordable housing, building out our green-energy infrastructure, supporting teachers, increasing the number of nurses and counselors in schools, and much more.

We also put money back into the pockets of people around the state, especially those whose small businesses have struggled because of the pandemic. More than 125,000 small businesses across the state will no longer pay the state business tax, and all employers across the state will see $214 million in unemployment insurance tax relief to address the historically high unemployment rates since the onset of the pandemic.

You can read more about our budget and many of the great policy bills we passed this session here.

Protecting survivors and doing justice

In my first session as chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, I was proud of the progress we made this year to establish a missing indigenous person alert, reduce gun violence, cut down on catalytic converter theft, and more.

Five bills I sponsored in the Senate passed the Legislature—all on bipartisan votes. They will help protect survivors, improve our justice and behavioral health systems, and make our state safer for everyone.

  • HB 1901 allows survivors to file for protection against coercive control—a pattern of behavior that attempts to control a victim through the threat of physical, emotional or psychological harm. It includes manipulation through isolation, intimidation, threats, online stalking and economic control, among other tactics.
  • SB 5628 creates the crime of cyber harassment to protect people against the growing problems of online harassment and stalking using tracking technology. It includes specific protections for election workers, who have been viciously targeted by harassment campaigns over the past two years.
  • HB 1773 improves access for people with serious behavioral health issues to treatment in the community before the need for hospitalization. Assisted outpatient treatment puts a judge and care team in charge of coordinating consistent care using the least restrictive form of treatment necessary to ensure patients’ recovery and stability.
  • SB 5695 helps keep our prisons free of drugs by establishing a body scanner pilot program at the Department of Corrections and by increasing access to treatment.
  • SB 5664 improves outpatient competency restoration programs to make our justice system work more fairly and effectively.

Stay in touch

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly with any questions or concerns. Stay safe and take care.

Sincerely yours,

Manka Dhingra
Senator, 45th Legislative District
Deputy Majority Leader