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:
- 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.