OLYMPIA – In a bipartisan vote today the Senate passed SB 5599, a bill sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) that clarifies state law around certification requirements for workers seeking to become journey level electricians.

“With our state’s growing needs around housing, transportation projects, decarbonization, and more, we need electricians to do that work,” said Saldaña. “For people who want to make this a career in Washington state, we must make sure that every hour gets counted and they are able to make a good living in this growing industry.

“We must reach out to businesses and trainees as these changes take effect and meet them where they are on an individual basis. With this bill, we can support both rural and urban communities’ needs while also strengthening our training and certification programs for this critical workforce.”

SB 5599 provides a technical fix to a bill that passed in 2018 with broad bipartisan support. The fix allows people who have not completed a journey level apprenticeship program (which becomes required as of July 2023) but who have equivalent training and experience to be able to take an exam to obtain journey level electrician certification if they have good cause for not completing the minimum hours of work.

The bill also clarifies the requirements for applying out-of-state hours and experience in the military towards certification.

An amendment adopted on the floor requires the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), rather than the apprenticeship council, to make recommendations to help rural electrical contractors come into compliance. It also requires L&I to educate employers and electrical trainees on the changes to the requirements and to offer technical assistance and training to increase apprenticeship capacity across the state.


In 2018, the Legislature passed SSB 6126, which requires completion of an apprenticeship program to obtain a journey level electrician certificate beginning July 1, 2023.

The law allows L&I, until July 1, 2025, to permit an applicant to take the journey level exam if the applicant shows equivalent training and experience and good cause for not completing the minimum hours of work by July 1, 2023.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.


For information: Ali O’Neil, Senate Democratic Caucus Communications, 360.786.7052