2021 Legislative Session Update

Friends and neighbors,

The 2021 session has been off to a great start so far – even as we’ve adapted to operating mostly remotely. Operating remotely has actually made it easier for you to participate in the legislative process because you don’t need to come to Olympia to testify on bills. But it has also very much slowed down the legislative process. Due to these new circumstances, the legislature is expected to manage less than half of the legislation we normally would.

I’ve been fortunate to work with other legislators to carry on bills that I’ve sponsored in prior sessions. SB 5259, Data Collection on Police Use of Force; HB 1264, Equity Impact Statements; and most importantly, SB 5188, the public bank bill,- are all great examples of legislation I will continue to work with my colleagues on this year. In addition to those, I want to take this time to update you on some other bills that are making their way through the Legislature – all of which I am proud to sponsor along with the state public bank bill.

High priority bills

  • Senate Bill 5188 – Concerning the creation of the Washington state public bank. This would establish a publicly owned bank for Washington State that local governments can participate in. While this version of a public bank may not go quite as far as I would like, it is a great step in the right direction. A public state bank would benefit Washington by generating new revenue without raising taxes and dramatically increasing our public financing capacity for public infrastructure while lowering costs.
  • Senate Bill 5105 – Implementing the recommendations of the office of equity task force. This would create a task force to enact recommendations from the Office of Equity Task Force. This is an important step to ensure that the Office of Equity created last year is not just a “checked box,” but a valuable tool for ensuring equity and fairness throughout the state government.
  • Senate Bill 5204 – Creating the Whole Washington Health Trust. This would create a universal healthcare system for Washington – a crucial step to get more residents access to essential health services. The pandemic has only made the need for universal healthcare clearer, and if there was ever a time for action – it’s now.
  • Senate Bill 5238 – Creating a Washington state creative economy work group. This would develop a strategic plan for building Washington’s creative economy, including our film, music, dance, and arts communities and industries.
  • Senate Bill 5116 – Establishing guidelines for government procurement and use of automated decision systems to protect consumers, improve transparency, and create more market predictability. This would set guidelines for the government’s use of artificial intelligence to ensure that consumer privacy is protected while improving government transparency. It’s important that human, discriminatory biases are not extended into far-reaching technologies used by our government that will impact people’s lives in disparate ways, and this would work to prevent that.
  • Senate Bill 5032 – Concerning the reauthorization and improvements to alternative public works contracting procedures. This would reauthorize the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board, which oversees the state’s alternative contracting procedures, with an emphasis on improving equity and access to contracting opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises.

Constituent request bills

Have you ever said, “There ought to be a law… ?” Well, your voice matters! Two bills that I am excited to sponsor this session were born from ideas that you, constituents in the 11th LD, brought to my attention.

Senate Bill 5050 would revoke the licenses of real estate firms that fail to pay their brokers a portion of commissions, preventing them from just shutting down and reopening under a different shingle. Senate Bill 5087 concerns risk-based water quality standards for on-site non-potable water systems, like using rainwater to flush toilets.

I am a better legislator when I hear from you about the issues that you care about and are impacted by. When you reach out with ideas and concerns, I can see a clearer picture of the issues affecting our district and can then better serve the interests of all of us.

The Office of Senator Bob Hasegawa

As per tradition, I’d like to introduce you to the wonderful staff working in our office this session! Click the photo below to meet the team who will be your first point of contact when reaching out to the office.

You can always send me suggestions, questions, comments, or more at Bob.Hasegawa@leg.wa.gov. And don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for regular video updates throughout session!

In Solidarity,