Dear friends and neighbors,  

Week one of the legislative session was packed with public hearings on so many important bills.  

Click the photo below to see powerful testimony on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide if they want school bond measures to pass with a simple majority of votes; it is sponsored by me and Senate Education Chair Lisa Wellman. 

Schools, especially small districts, struggle for years to pass bond measures often garnering support from more than 50% of voters but failing to get the needed supermajority.  

If you want to track that legislation, click here.  

This week  

Every year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Senate passes a resolution honoring Dr. King’s legacy, and how we can use lessons from his work to help guide us in our work today. Today at about 12:30 p.m., you’ll hear a powerful speech from my friend, Sen. John Lovick. Look out for a special musical element organized by Sen. T’wina Nobles! You can watch live coverage on TVW. 

On Wednesday, my “bill of rights” for seniors in independent living facilities, returning from last session, is expected to be heard on the Senate floor.  

This consumer protection bill stemmed from a situation that former Rep. Laurie Dolan and I experienced when visiting a senior living facility in our district in the summer of 2022. We were invited by residents to come and answer questions about the Legislature. More than 70 residents showed up, and some also wanted to discuss their concerns about facility services, but unfortunately, facility administrators interfered with the discussion and residents were denied the opportunity to express their views. Thankfully, at a later date, we were able to have a much more productive conversation with these constituents.   

We were amazed to learn that some of our constituents who came to this meeting — the ones in independent living — are not afforded the same rights as everyone else in the facility. 

Washington State’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is required by state and federal law to protect and promote the rights, safety and welfare of nearly 80,000 people living in licensed long-term care facilities across the state (but that does not include those who are considered independent-living residents). 

Those who live in licensed long-term care facilities have legal resident rights, as well as protection and oversight from the Department of Social and Health Services and Adult Protective Services. However, the independent-living folks are not currently defined as “residents.” These “non-residents” are sometimes referred to as “independent residents,” or “tenants.” While these independent-living folks may share a dining room, entertainment, transportation or housekeeping services with those in assisted living, they are not afforded the same protections as the other people who live there. 

This bill seeks to bring parity to these different kinds of residents — to ensure these independent-living residents do not fall through the cracks. The legislation would establish a work group to develop a bill of rights for “non-residents” in assisted-living facilities to resolve disputes over services. 

You can watch last session’s committee hearing here. For more information and to track the bill, click here.  

How you can get involved this session   

  • Learn how the legislative process works here.    
  • Find legislation here.  
  • Watch committee hearings, floor debates and more on TVW.    
  • Testify in committee hearings in person or remotely by signing up here. See what’s going on each day by checking out the Legislature’s calendar.  
  • Reach out to my office anytime at 360-786-7642 or The more I hear from you, the better I can serve you. You can also follow along for more legislative updates on my official Facebook page. 


Sam Hunt