2021 Legislative Priorities

Below are the House Democratic Caucus priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session. Explanation of the progress bars are described below.

In progress in House
Passed chamber/signed into law
In progress in Senate
Pending concurrence or Gov Action
Failed to meet deadline/no longer viable to pass into law/vetoed

COVID RESPONSE

Step One for Community and Economic Recovery (HB 1367 & 1368)

House and Senate Democrats passed this first step in the House and Senate plan for Washington’s community and economic recovery, starting with the allocation of $2.2 billion in federal funds to provide assistance to Washington families and businesses who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal will ease the financial hardship of struggling renters, small restaurants and other neighborhood businesses, school districts, uninsured and underinsured individuals, and Black and Brown communities, which have been disproportionately hurt during the pandemic.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Step Three for Community and Economic Recovery (HB 1094/SB 5092)

The “Washington Recovery Budget” that utilizes state and federal funds to invests in food, shelter, and health. We support economic recovery, housing, small businesses, schools, behavioral health, substance use disorder treatment, vaccines, helping undocumented families, frontline workers, child care, and digital equity. The budget is built around supporting people hit hardest by the pandemic. It prioritizes the needs of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities that have suffered disproportionate impacts during the pandemic by threading racial equity in each step and reflecting the input of trusted community organizations who are at the center of this work.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Graduation Requirement Emergency Waiver (HB 1121)

The pandemic disrupted learning and could prevent students from graduating, hurting the workforce that should help WA recover and thrive. HB 1121 allows the State Board of Education (SBE) to authorize public and private schools to grant individual student waivers from graduation requirements due to an emergency.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

COVID-19 Health Data (HB 1127)

House Bill 1127 protects privacy and security of COVID-19 health data.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Foundational Public Health (HB 1152)

House Bill 1152 requires elected officials to be balanced with public health and health care professionals and community members with lived experience on local health boards and will significantly increase funding and resources for local public health departments so that Washington is not caught unprepared for a future pandemic.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Audio Only Telemedicine (HB 1196)

House Bill 1196 allows those without a computer or broadband access to just as easily gain access to a doctor and rapidly get medical advice.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor
 

LAP (HB 1208)

House Bill 1208 .

Passed the House
Placed on second reading by Senate Rules

 

Protecting your right to participate in your government (HB 1329)

House Bill 1329 encourages public meetings to be accessible to all with remote testimony and access, ensures public comments and testimony is taken before votes are taken, and encourages the posting of meetings online.

Passed the House
Failed to receive vote on Senate floor

 

Respiratory Therapists (HB 1383)

Respiratory therapy practitioners provide a variety of services related to respiratory care, including ventilator management. With COVID-19, the need for qualified practitioners has increased, and there is a need to update state laws to match recent guidance and scope of practice in the field. HB 1383 codifies that guidance, updates supervision and examination requirements, and allows respiratory care to be delivered via telemedicine.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Unemployment Insurance Relief (SB 5061)

SB 5061 provides much-needed relief for employers across the state whose tax bills skyrocketed due to COVID-19 layoffs last year. The legislation also helps the lowest-wage hardest-hit workers by raising their minimum benefit. The bill will relieve businesses by preventing an automatic UI tax increase of $1.7 billion from 2021 to 2025, starting with $920 million this year, thereby reducing employers’ tax bills due in April. It also completely removes from businesses’ future UI tax calculations an additional $1.2 billion in benefits paid out during the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order last spring from March 22 to May 30, 2020. The lowest-wage workers, those making between $21,000 and $27,800 per year, will also welcome the provisions in this measure to raise their minimum benefit when they get laid off. Employees who make more than minimum wage will not see a change in their benefit.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits (SB 5425/HB 1492)

Allows for extended benefits for unemployment insurance past the 52-week benefit limit.

Passed the Senate (companion passed House)
Passed the House
Signed by Governor

 

Creating prison to postsecondary education pathways (HB 1044)

HB 1044 expands education opportunities to incarcerated people to postsecondary and apprenticeship education.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Exempting businesses from paying state taxes on COVID-19 relief funds (HB 1095)

HB 1095 exempts businesses from having to pay state taxes on funds received from the federal or state government for COVID-19 relief.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Expanding access to emergency cash assistance (HB 1151)

HB 1151 expands access to a cash assistance program for families, allows for five additional months of food assistance and requires DSHS to update the standards of need for cash assistance programs for the first time since 1991.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Good Cause Eviction (HB 1236)

HB 1236 protects month-to-month tenants in Washington from no-cause evictions by requiring landlords to cite a reason

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Keeping Families Together Act (HB 1227)

Our child welfare system’s primary goal is the safety of the child; a secondary goal is family reunification. HB 1227 will help support these goals to make sure we are doing everything possible to keep a family safely together.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Working Families Tax Exemption (HB 1297)

HB 1297 updates the Working Families Tax Exemption provides a credit to working families in Washington state, strengthens everyday people’s ability to meet their basic needs, and will help stabilize Washington’s economy for years to come.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Public Broadband Act (HB 1336)

House Bill 1336 removes all state restrictions on public entities providing broadband access directly to consumers.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Eliminating lunch copays (HB 1342)

House Bill 1342 eliminates the lunch copay for students who qualify for reduced or free lunch, building on the work done by laws like Breakfast After the Bell.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Expanding Coverage for Paid Family & Medical Leave (HB 1073)

HB 1073 expands coverage for Paid Family & Medical leave to workers whose hours were cut due to COVID-19

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Fair Start for Kids (HB 1213/SB 5237)

HB 1213 addresses the child care crisis and makes child care more affordable and accessible for families across Washington state.

Passed the House/Companion passed Senate
Companion passed the House
Signed by Governor

 

Main Street Program (HB 1279)

Expands the Main Street Program, which helps revitalize rural towns and support local small businesses. Since 2011, this program has helped generate more than $550 million in sales for Main Street businesses across Washington state, supporting over 6,400 jobs.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Deferring Property Taxes (HB 1332)

HB 1332 requires county treasurers to grant a deferral of 2021 property tax payments for businesses with significant revenue loss via establishment of a payment plan

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 


RACIAL JUSTICE & EQUITY

Racial Justice

Police Tactics (HB 1054)

HB 1054 sets a baseline of acceptable tactics and equipment that make it clear that preserving and protecting human life must be law enforcement’s highest value. HB 1054 would ban chokeholds, neck restraints, no-knock warrants and certain military equipment, and put restrictions on tear gas, vehicular pursuits and shooting at moving vehicles.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Impeachment Disclosures (HB 1088)

HB 1088 addresses the credibility of testimony by law enforcement officers. It would set up a process to establish statewide policies shedding light on officers who are on prosecutor-held “Brady” lists because of any history that could call their credibility into question.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting Governor Action

 

Law Enforcement Audits (HB 1089)

HB 1089 provides meaningful transparency about investigations and charging decisions made after deadly force is used by police. These investigations are required under Initiative 940, passed by Washington voters in 2018.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Youth Access to Attorneys (HB 1140)

HB 1140 requires that a youth is provided access to an attorney when they are arrested and read their rights.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Juvenile Rehabilitation (HB 1186)

HB 1186 creates evidence-based approaches to reentry, connects kids with services, school, family, etc. and deinstitutionalizes juvenile prisons.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Peace Officer Accountability Act (HB 1202)

HB 1202 creates a new state level civil cause of action for the violation of state constitutional rights, which would provide a remedy for those who feel their rights have been violated.

Failed to go to vote on floor of House

 

Independent Investigations (HB 1267)

HB 1267 creates an independent agency to investigate deadly uses of force, allowing families of those killed by police, as well as the community, to have faith that a proper investigation occurred.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Use of Force (HB 1310)

HB 1310 sets the clear expectation that de-escalation should be an officer’s first instinct and that deadly force should only be a truly necessary last resort.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Racial Equity

Making Juneteenth a State Holiday (HB 1016)

On June 19, 1865, two and half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, news finally reached Galveston, Texas, that all enslaved persons were now released from the bondage of slavery. Juneteenth became an unofficial holiday in Black communities, with little participation or awareness by white Americans, even stifled by local officials and businesses. During the Civil Rights Movement, Juneteenth started to become more common and has since been recognized as a ceremonial holiday by states. However, only a handful of states officially recognize Juneteenth as a recurring legal state holiday that provides paid time off for state employees. HB 1016 would make Juneteenth a state paid holiday in Washington state.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Civil Legal Aid (HB 1072)

HB 1072 eliminates a provision in current law that denies equity and access to justice for undocumented immigrants by restricting them from accessing state-funded civil legal aid.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Restoring the Right to Vote (HB 1078)

HB 1078 honors second chances and treating neighbors with dignity so they can become whole again. When people return to our communities to live and work, they deserve to fully participate in democracy without further punishment.⁠⁠ They deserve to look to a brighter future and share their experience in our criminal legal system to improve our laws. Withholding this right to vote is an injustice that has continued for too long, and we must not stand in the way of redemption.⁠⁠

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Private Detention Facilities (HB 1090)

Prohibits persons, businesses, and state and local governments from operating or contracting with private detention facilities, effectively banning private for-profit prisons and detention centers and restrict existing facilities from renewing their contracts.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Replacing the term “marijuna” with the term “cannabis” (HB 1210)

HB 1210 replaces “marijuana” with “cannabis” in the Revised Code of Washington due to the historically racist history and use of the word “marijuana.”

Passed the House
Failed to receive vote on Senate floor

 

Ensuring a Safe Environment for Each Student in our Schools (HB 1214)

HB 1214 extends training requirements including restorative justice and other requirements to help young people feel safer in their schools, especially our students of color who sometimes don’t feel they are in a safe environment.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Expanding Public Contracting Opportunities for Women and Minority Business Enterprises (HB 1259)

HB 1259 provides OMWBE tools to help stop fraud and abuse and to fulfill its mission to increase participation and opportunities for women/minority owned businesses.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Expanding fare enforcement options for Sound Transit (HB 1301)

HB 1301 authorized Sound Transit to adopt a fare enforcement model that is more equitable and moves out of the court system to an administrative process, which can lead to a decline in fare evasion and increased resolution of fare evasion fines.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Prohibiting Use of Native American Names, Symbols, or Images (HB 1356)

Bans the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names. Often, the use of Native American names, symbols, or images is premised on the promotion of unity or school spirit. However, this use fails to respect the cultural heritage of Native Americans and is contrary to the goal of making schools safe and respectful learning environments.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 

Social Equity within the Cannabis Industry (HB 1443)

Expands the WSLCB Social Equity in Cannabis task force scope and reflects input of over 300 people who were interviewed by the Commission on African American Affairs.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Signed by Governor

 


CLIMATE CHANGE

Regulating Hydrofluorocarbons (HB 1050)

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are powerful greenhouse gases that are mainly used for cooling and refrigeration. They are one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and can be as much as 10,000 times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide. The Legislature took a big step in regulating HFCs in 2019, but this legislation will go one step farther by setting a maximum global warming potential threshold and by applying regulations for ozone depleting substances to HFCs. HB 1050 also directs the Department of Ecology to set up a refrigerant management program to safely manage and dispose of HFCs moving forward.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting approval by governor

 

Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rideshare Companies (HB 1075)

HB 1075 requires rideshare companies to record their miles driven and greenhouse gases emitted. That information will be submitted to the Department of Ecology who will set emissions reduction targets that rideshare companies will have to make a plan to meet.

Failed to go to vote on floor of House

 

Low Carbon Fuel Standard (HB 1091)

The transportation sector makes up 45% of the emissions in Washington State. In order to take action on climate change, Washington must follow its neighbors on the West Coast and adopt emissions standards for transportation fuel. This bill will not only make Washington state cleaner and reduce emissions, but it will also spur economic activity and growth. Washington can become a leader in producing and exporting clean, green biofuels. Corporate entities like Alaska Airlines and others like the Port of Seattle recognize that we are falling behind in the race to develop a biofuels industry. A clean fuel standard will reduce emissions in Washington and create sustainable, living wage jobs.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Adding Climate Change Mitigation as a Goal of the Growth Management Act (HB 1099)

HB 1099 adds climate change mitigation as a goal of the GMA and requires a climate change and resiliency element of the plan that results in reductions in overall greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires the land use element of the plan to consider environmental justice and avoid creating or worsening environmental health disparities.

Passed the House
Failed to receive executive action in Senate Transportation Committee

 

Long-Term Forest Health (HB 1168)

HB 1168 creates a multifaceted 20-year plan, developed in a bipartisan way and including the commissioner of public lands, to establish healthy forests that are more resistant to wildfires.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval

 

Greenhouse Gas Reductions in Public Buildings (HB 1280)

House Bill 1280 advances electrification of public buildings.

Passed the House
Failed to receive vote on Senate floor

 

Zero Emissions Transportation (HB 1287)

House Bill 1287 will build a complete plan to ensure that our electric grid and our buildings will have the charging stations and power supply necessary to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.

Passed the House
Passed the Senate
Awaiting governor approval