Dear neighbors,

I am happy to report that we recently completed another phase of the legislative session!  Last Tuesday was the deadline known as “house of origin cutoff.” In general, bills must pass out of the chamber where they were introduced by this deadline in order to advance in the legislative process.

Many of the bills I prime sponsored have made it to the next step in the process.  Below you’ll find information on those, as well as House bills that were companions to bills I prime sponsored this session.

SB 5237 (HB 1213), also known as the Fair Start for Kids Act, would address one of the leading challenges for Washington households by dramatically increasing the accessibility and affordability of childcare while stabilizing and expanding an industry in crisis. Our future economy depends on meeting the critical early needs of children now, and this would get parents back to work, get our economy up and running, and give kids a fair start in life.

SB 5151 would create child-specific foster care licenses to help those who are caring for their relatives’ children access more resources and assistance. It would also eliminate fees for childcare providers’ licenses through 2023 and would make the nature-based early learning and childcare program permanent.

SB 5304 would provide a “warm handoff” when someone leaves custody and rejoins their community by allowing them to be covered by Medicaid upon their release from incarceration or confinement. It would also improve the Offender Reentry Community Safety Program, which protects public safety by providing intensive support services to those who need them most.

SB 5376 would raise awareness among families in the public education system about the services of the Office of Education Ombuds (OEO) in Washington by requiring schools to make its contact information available on their websites or in regularly distributed printed materials. OEO works to reduce educational opportunity gaps by supporting families, students, educators and communities in understanding the K-12 system and resolving concerns collaboratively.

HB 1113 would require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop guidance to prevent student absences through student and family engagement, based on restorative justice practices. This guidance would emphasize the integration of student and family support systems.

Now, the next phase of the legislative session is underway. We started holding public hearings on House bills that were passed to the Senate for consideration the very next day after the house of origin cutoff, and soon we will start voting on the bills that pass out of the committees!


Image description: Graphic on light blue background, white Washington Senate Democrats logo in upper right corner, and “March 9, 2021” in tiny font in lower left corner. Drawing of yellow and black bullhorn to the right of white and black text. Text: SB 5906 passed the Senate! Let’s fix our broken tax code. Washington State has the most regressive tax code in the U.S. SB 5096 creates an excise tax on capital gains from stock and bonds – a first step toward relief for working families and a healthier future and economy for all of us. Bulleted list: Affecting only the wealthiest in our state – just 0.23% of Washingtonians, Funding a fix to our broken child care system and relief for low and middle income folks, Putting us on the path to an equitable future where the wealthy pay their fair share

Balancing our tax code

Right now, our state’s tax code unfairly taxes the poor at much higher rates than it does the wealthy. Washingtonians pay 17 percent of their income in taxes and middle-income Washingtonians pay 11 percent, while the wealthiest Washingtonians pay just 3 percent.

On March 7, the Senate passed SB 5096, which would create an excise tax on capital gains of over $250,000 from the sales of stock and bonds. This is an important first step toward fixing our state’s upside-down tax system that would ensure the wealthy begin to pay their fair share.


Image description: a young boy sits at table with an book before him while writing in a spiral notebook. He is wearing a face mask that is various shades of green. The view is looking over the child's right shoulder.

In-person learning is making a comeback

Last week, Governor Inslee put forward a plan and timeline for Washington’s school districts to provide an in-person option for students to return to the classroom for at least 2 days per week. The plan allows families whose children are thriving in a remote learning environment to continue remote learning if desired. You should be hearing more from your school district soon. Read more about the governor’s plan here.




That’s all for today! My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community.


Sen. Claire Wilson

Click here for contact information.