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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Washington State Senate Democrats unveil their 2021 standing committee assignments

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.

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