The increasingly diverse Washington State Senate Democratic caucus has announced its committee assignments for the 2021–2022 legislative biennium, having once again secured a solid majority with which to govern.
The caucus will remain twenty-eight members strong for the next legislative session, owing to longtime incumbent Dean Takko’s defeat in the coastal 19th District and challenger T’wina Nobles’ victory in the suburban 28th District.
“I am proud of the work Senate Democrats have done in putting people first in recent years,” said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D‑2nd District: Spokane).
“The pandemic has challenged our state like never before and this upcoming session will be unlike any other,” Billig added, alluding to the Senate’s plan to work remotely in a mostly distributed fashion. “I am confident that we have the team to meet these challenges head on and do our part in helping all Washingtonians battle back stronger than before.”
The Eastside of King County’s all Democratic delegation will have even more clout in the 2021 session, as Senator Lisa Wellman is joining the all-important Ways & Means Committee, which Senators Manka Dhingra (a Northwest Progressive Foundation boardmember) and Mark Mullet already serve on.
Wellman will continue to chair Early Learning & K‑12 Education, while Dhingra will continue to chair Behavorial Health. Mullet will continue to head the financial services committee, now dubbed Business, Financial Services, & Trade.
Senator Patty Kuderer, meanwhile, will remain chair of Housing & Local Government and retain her position on the powerful Rules Committee.
Kuderer represents the 48th District, Wellman represents the 41st, Dhingra represents the 45th, and Mullet represents the 5th (presuming a recount that begins tomorrow affirms that he won reelection).
Senator-elect T’wina Nobles, the only Democratic challenger to win a race in 2020, will serve on four key committees: Early Learning & K‑12 Education (as one of Wellman’s Vice Chairs), Higher Education & Workforce Development (as Senator Emily Randall’s Vice Chair), Behaviorial Health, and Transportation.
Senate committees will typically meet during four timeslots in 2021:
- 8 to 10 AM
- 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
- 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
- 4 PM to 6 PM
Buffers have been built into the committee schedule to accommodate a virtual meeting format. Some committees will meet twice a week, while others (including Transportation and Ways & Means) will have three meetings per week.
The Democratic committee on committees proposal can be read in its entirety below. As Democrats have a majority in the Senate, they have the votes to adopt their proposed committee structure, but the committee rosters will not be complete until Republicans respond and announce their assignments.Democratic committee on committees proposal for the 2021 session
There will also be a few leadership changes for 2021. Emily Randall is becoming the Majority Whip, while Senator Bob Hasegawa will serve as Majority Caucus Chair. Senator Mona Das will become the Caucus Vice Chair.