Two of the Northwest Progressive Institute’s priority bills for the 2022 Washington State legislative session earned a “do pass” recommendation in their committee of origin today, which means that each will survive the first cutoff of the session.
House Bills 1727 and 1876, both prime sponsored by Representative Mia Gregerson, received votes of support from a majority of the House State Government Committee this morning in executive session, with all four Democrats voting aye and all three Republicans voting nay.
HB 1727 would phase out most elections in odd-numbered years in Washington State, tackling the problem of election fatigue, saving resources, and significantly increasing turnout across local elections. NPI’s research shows that a majority of Washington voters support this change, while only about a quarter are opposed.
HB 1876 would improve initiative ballot titles by requiring that projected fiscal impacts be disclosed to voters before the “Yes” or “No” ovals appearing on the ballot, but after the concise description the law currently provides for.
NPI Legislative Director Kathy Sakahara and I testified in support of these bills last week when they received their public hearings.
The roll call on each bill was the same:
Voting for a “do pass” recommendation: Democratic Representatives Javier Valdez (Chair), Debra Lekanoff (Vice Chair), Laurie Dolan, Mia Gregerson
Voting for a “do not pass” recommendation: Republican Representatives Mike Volz, Jenny Graham, Jim Walsh
As a result of earning a “do pass” recommendation, each bill will survive the initial February 3rd cutoff for policy bills and advance to the House Rules Committee. Whether either bill goes to the floor for further consideration will be up to House leadership (headed by Speaker Laurie Jinkins and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan). The bills will need to survive the chamber of origin cutoff later in February to remain alive and be considered in the Washington State Senate.
The Legislature’s even-numbered year regular sessions last only sixty days. The session must adjourn Sine Die in accordance with the Washington State Constitution no later than March 10th, 2022.
While Democratic legislative leaders have said they want to focus on COVID relief, polishing police reform bills passed last year, and adopting a set of supplemental budgets, they do have the opportunity to act decisively to make our state’s elections fairer, and they should make the most of that opportunity.
NPI thanks Representatives Valdez, Lekanoff, Dolan, and Gregerson for their leadership in moving these beneficial bills forward past the first cutoff.