Gavel for Sine Die
Gavel for Sine Die

The Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture is going home.

Hav­ing spent six­ty days work­ing to craft three bud­gets and pass a long list of pol­i­cy bills (many lib­er­at­ed from the Repub­li­cans’ grave­yard of progress), law­mak­ers in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled House and Sen­ate jubi­lant­ly vot­ed to adjourn Sine Die tonight at around 10:13 PM, bring­ing the 2018 reg­u­lar ses­sion to an end.

The two cham­bers’ last order of busi­ness was adop­tion of Sen­ate Con­cur­rent Res­o­lu­tion 8409, which con­sists of a sin­gle passage:

BE IT RESOLVED, By the Sen­ate of the State of Wash­ing­ton, the
House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­cur­ring, That the 2018 Reg­u­lar Ses­sion of the Six­ty-fifth Leg­is­la­ture adjourn SINE DIE.

Sine Die is Latin for “with­out day”, and refers to the notion of adjourn­ing with­out assign­ing a day for a fur­ther meet­ing or hearing.

When the Leg­is­la­ture adjourns Sine Die in an even num­bered year, it typ­i­cal­ly does not expect to meet again, unless called into spe­cial ses­sion by the Governor.

The next reg­u­lar ses­sion of the Leg­is­la­ture will con­vene in Jan­u­ary 2019.

“I am so proud of what we have accom­plished on behalf of the peo­ple of this state,” said Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Sharon Nel­son in a news release.

“We put peo­ple first and fol­lowed through on an agen­da that every Wash­ing­ton­ian can be proud of,” Nel­son added. “We hit the ground run­ning in 2018 and nev­er looked back. When we look back at what was accom­plished this year, it’s hard to believe all of this hap­pened in just six­ty days.”

“When Sen­ate Democ­rats took over the major­i­ty last fall, we want­ed to show how the Leg­is­la­ture can func­tion when gov­ern­ment isn’t divid­ed,” said Sen­a­tor. Kevin Van De Wege, D‑24th Dis­trict (Sequim). “Our pri­or­i­ty the first two weeks was to pass the cap­i­tal con­struc­tion bud­get and resolve the Hirst water issues left over from last year, and from there we just kept our feet on the gas pedal.”

Here is the Sen­ate Democ­rats’ list of 2018 pol­i­cy victories:

  • Expand­ed access to Democ­ra­cy on sev­er­al fronts by passing: 
    • The DISCLOSE Act to expose hid­den mon­ey in elec­tions (SB 5991);
    • Same-day vot­er reg­is­tra­tion (SB 6021),
    • Auto­mat­ic vot­er reg­is­tra­tion (HB 2595),
    • Vot­er pre-reg­is­tra­tion (HB 1513);
    • The Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Rights Act (SB 6002)
  • Pas­sage of the long-delayed 2017 cap­i­tal con­struc­tion bud­get that pro­vides the largest-ever invest­ment in K‑12 school con­struc­tion, 19,000 jobs and bad­ly need­ed infra­struc­ture projects across the state. (SB 6090)
  • A bud­get that invests in edu­ca­tion, men­tal health and jobs as well as the final piece of fund­ing to sat­is­fy McCleary, the state’s con­sti­tu­tion­al oblig­a­tion to amply fund K‑12 edu­ca­tion. The bud­get includes a $2.4 bil­lion reserve, the largest in state his­to­ry, as a hedge against an eco­nom­ic reces­sion. (SB 6032)
  • A statewide prop­er­ty tax cut, effec­tive in 2019, to give house­holds relief from the Repub­li­can Prop­er­ty Tax of 2017. (SB 6614)
  • A ban on bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas mas­sacre to give a semi-auto­mat­ic rifle the rapid-fire capa­bil­i­ty of a machine gun. (SB 5992)
  • Adding domes­tic vio­lence harass­ment to the list of con­di­tions that pre­vent peo­ple from being able to buy a firearm. (SB 6298)
  • Leg­is­la­tion to allow any­one strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness to place them­selves on a firearms do-not-pur­chase list. (SB 5553)
  • Equal pay leg­is­la­tion to help close the wage gap between men and women in our state by offer­ing pro­tec­tions for work­ers who are paid less, or are offered less­er career advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties on the basis of gen­der. (HB 1506)
  • A pair of bills that strength­en pro­tec­tions against sex­u­al harass­ment in the work­place (SB 5996, SB 6471)
  • First state in the nation to pass state-lev­el Net Neu­tral­i­ty pol­i­cy (HB 2282)
  • Con­sumer pro­tec­tion from unfair fees charged by finan­cial insti­tu­tions to freeze and unfreeze cred­it accounts when infor­ma­tion is breached as in the noto­ri­ous Equifax (SB 6018)
  • The Repro­duc­tive Par­i­ty Act to make sure women have the option of choos­ing the health­care choic­es that are best for them and their fam­i­lies. (SB 6219)
  • Sep­a­rate bills requir­ing health care providers to cov­er the cost of 3‑D mam­mo­grams (SB 5912) and requir­ing doc­tors to inform and assist patients who have high breast den­si­ty, to bet­ter detect ear­ly signs of breast can­cer. (SB 5084)
  • A require­ment that all health plans sold in Wash­ing­ton state cov­er the same pre­ven­tive ser­vices required by fed­er­al law in the Afford­able Care Act, such as dis­ease screen­ing and con­tra­cep­tion (HB 1523)
  • The Stu­dent Loan Bill of Rights, to pro­tect col­lege stu­dents from fraud­u­lent and preda­to­ry prac­tices by lenders that sad­dle stu­dents with spi­ral­ing debt. (SB 6029)
  • A ban on con­ver­sion ther­a­py, the prac­tice of apply­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal dis­com­fort to try to force LGBTQ minors to con­form to a gen­der iden­ti­ty oth­er than which feels appro­pri­ate for who they are. (SB 5722)
  • Expan­sion of Break­fast after the Bell, a pro­gram that has been shown to improve stu­dent per­for­mance by mak­ing sure kids start the school day able to con­cen­trate on their class­es instead of grum­bling stom­achs. (HB 1508)
  • The phas­ing out of Atlantic salmon net pen farms that threat­en the health of our water and native fish pop­u­la­tions. (HB 2957)
  • The Dream Act 2.0, to expand access to high­er edu­ca­tion for stu­dents who are DACA recip­i­ents. (SB 5074)
  • Stand­ing up for work­ers made sick because of con­di­tions at Han­ford (HB 1723)
  • Efforts to reform juve­nile jus­tice that include reduc­ing recidi­vism and racial dis­pro­por­tion­al­i­ty (SB 6160); and expand­ing juve­nile court juris­dic­tion (SB 6550)
  • Com­bat­ting home­less­ness by rais­ing the doc­u­ment record­ing fee from $40 to $62. (HB 1570)
  • Pro­hibit­ing hous­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion by stop­ping land­lords from turn­ing away poten­tial ten­ants who rely on Sec­tion 8 vouch­ers, Social Secu­ri­ty or vet­er­ans ben­e­fits. (HB 2578)
  • The Fair Chance Act. Ban the box leg­is­la­tion to ensure that every­one has an equal oppor­tu­ni­ty for employ­ment (HB 1298)

NPI con­grat­u­lates the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture on a pro­duc­tive ses­sion. Many pri­or­i­ties unfor­tu­nate­ly did­n’t make it, but there will anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty to advance them next year, per­haps with a more pro­gres­sive Leg­is­la­ture in place.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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