Friends and neighbors,
In a final, productive sprint across the finish line, the legislative session came to a close on April 25. When I think about where we started back in January – in the midst of an economic downturn, fearful for the health of our loved ones as we battled a pandemic that had already touched the lives of so many of our neighbors – I feel profound gratitude for the way in which our community came together to advance solutions.
With your input and tireless advocacy leading the way, the legislature took meaningful steps to get direct, targeted relief to those most impacted by the pandemic. We also acted on issues that demanded attention even before COVID-19 struck our state, like policing reform, housing and homelessness, access to healthcare, and climate protection.
Keep scrolling for some highlights from this past session, and stay tuned in the days and weeks to come for more in-depth looks at all we accomplished.
In spite of navigating the first mostly-remote legislative session in our state’s history, the Senate took nearly 500 votes – a huge majority of which (about 85%) were bipartisan – on legislation ranging from worker protections, to higher education access, to salmon recovery. I’m excited to say that several of my prime-sponsored bills are off to the governor’s desk now too, including:
- SB 5096 – establishing a state excise tax on the sale of stocks and bonds, which impacts just 0.23% of taxpayers and raises nearly $500 million per year for childcare and early-learning supports. It’s one important tool, in addition to the Working Families Tax Credit, that helps us rebuild our regressive tax code so that low- and middle-income Washingtonians no longer pay far more in taxes than the wealthiest among us.
- SB 5097 – expanding eligibility for our Paid Family and Medical Leave program. I was honored to help establish our state’s PFML program back in 2017, and with this expansion, more families –intergenerational families, queer families, chosen families – will be able to care for themselves and their loved ones.
As Vice Chair of Ways and Means, with a focus on the Operating Budget and revenue, I was also honored to be part of the team that wrote our history-making $59.2 billion budget to help Washington recover and rebuild. We restored or increased investments in our state’s pandemic response and foundational public health, rebuilt the safety net for our neighbors in need, and kept the money flowing through our communities so businesses and workers could recover. Other highlights include investments in:
- Stabilization and safe reopening for Washington’s K-12 schools
- Climate resiliency and wildfire prevention
- Broadband access, particularly in underserved and rural communities
- Healthcare affordability and behavioral health services
We’re excited to tell you more about these bills and the budget we passed. In the meantime, don’t forget that my office is as available to you as ever. Send me an email at June.Robinson@leg.wa.gov, or give me a call at (360) 786-7674. Let’s set up a Zoom meeting or connect in writing. I’d love to hear from you, and I’m looking forward to learning more about your priorities in this upcoming year. You can also follow me on Facebook for regular updates.
My work in Olympia is always informed by the voices of my neighbors, and I’m eager to hear yours.