When Washington had the first COVID-19 related death in the United States in early 2020, we knew we needed to act fast to address the impending crisis. Over the last two years, we have responded accordingly by passing legislation to both invest in and strengthen our public health systems in Washington while also providing assistance to those most impacted by the ongoing crisis.
Just a couple of crucial investments included:
- HB 1368, a comprehensive and bipartisan $2.2 billion measure to allocate federal funds to expand testing and vaccine distribution, provide support to schools, make grants available for small businesses, and help thousands meet basic needs with housing and food assistance
- SB 5061 to provide $1.7 billion in unemployment tax relief for all Washington employers
- SB 5478, providing $500 million in additional unemployment tax relief to restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and others hit hardest by COVID-19 restrictions
- $71 million for programs to help Washington’s small businesses recover and thrive from the Covid-19 pandemic.
- SB 5980, ensuring that more than 125,000 small businesses across Washington will no longer pay the state business tax, saving approximately $50 million each year.
We know that the pandemic affected far more than just public health, but also impacted the way each of us learn, work and live. That’s why we have also passed legislation to expand access to broadband (SB 5383 and HB 1336), make childcare more affordable and accessible (SB 5237), and protect tenants while also helping landlords (SB 5160).