OLYMPIA – While the 2021 legislative session will be mostly remote, the state House convened in person today in order to adopt temporary rules to allow for remote proceedings.
The legislature made the decision to convene mostly remote for the first time in state history, following bipartisan discussions and input from public health experts on how best to protect the health of legislators, staff, and the public.
House Speaker Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) was re-elected Speaker by a vote of the full House. This is her second year and first full term in the role.
“Our job for every minute of the next 105 days is to not just keep hope alive for the people of our great state, but to make hope a reality,” Jinkins said in brief remarks given from the House rostrum, noting that Washington state is in the “hardest of times” due to impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Jinkins was nominated by Rep. Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way).
“In a time of great stress and division, she’s the right person to guide us toward solutions and unity — toward better public health, racial justice, economic recovery, and environmental justice,” Johnson said in his nominating speech from the House floor.
House Democrats are focusing this session on COVID-19 response, economic recovery, acting on climate and addressing systemic racism. These priorities address the health and well-being of Washington’s families, workers, communities, and businesses, many of whom are struggling as a result of COVID-related restrictions.
These priorities will also guide House Democrats’ approach to writing a new two-year budget for the state.
The 2021 regular session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 25.