Dear friends and neighbors,
The 2022 legislative session adjourned sine die yesterday.
(Sine die is latin for “without a day,” and basically means we adjourned without a date of resumption. Throughout session, every other adjournment of the House and Senate indicates a date when the chamber will next convene.)
Coming on the heels of the historic 2021 session — during which we passed the Washington Recovery Budget to meet the challenge of these unprecedented times, plus landmark legislation like the clean fuels bill and the Climate Commitment Act — it seemed it would be hard to top or even match such an enormously productive session in just 60 days.
Generally, short sessions in even-numbered years are usually more about smaller steps forward: making necessary adjustments to the two-year budget for the state, and advancing bills that can get through the tight timeline.
The 2022 session stands out: we had major, historic wins this year that go far beyond what is normally expected in a short session. And I’m excited about that.
House Democrats went into this session with a focus on four priority areas:
- Strengthening economic well-being
- Serving Washingtonians better
- Advancing racial equity and justice
- Addressing the climate crisis
I’m proud to say we have passed significant legislation and made major investments in each of these priority areas. You’ll be hearing more details about these and other victories in my upcoming e-newsletters, but a few examples of 2022 wins include:
- A historic transportation package to create a cleaner, sustainable, achievable transportation future for Washington state (big shout-out to my 27th District seatmate, Rep. Jake Fey, for leading the way and championing this across the finish line).
- Expanding access to free and reduced health care for 2.2 million Washingtonians by making sure the way hospitals provide subsidized care is standardized and not a matter of geographic luck (HB 1616).
- Creating a state student loan program to offer higher education loans to undergraduate and graduate students at a one percent interest rate – far lower than most federal or private loans (HB 1736).
- Addressing the mental health needs of our K-12 students by investing in more school nurses, counselors, and social workers in our public schools (HB 1664).
- Cracking down on the rising problem of catalytic converter theft in our communities (HB 1815).
On Day One I said this session was about moving everyone forward – EVERYONE – as we come out of this pandemic.
I have noted before that those who went into the pandemic doing well tend to come out of it still doing well. But those who were struggling going into it tend to struggle even more when times are tough, and that was something our House Democrats budget team put front and center.
We didn’t want the status quo. We want a better future for Washington.
And that’s what we’ve done this session – we’ve built a better future.
Finally, I’m pleased the Legislature was able to pivot swiftly in response to the omicron wave and put the health and safety of our legislative staff, lawmakers, and the public first while operating transparently and safely.
We began the session with a quick but seamless shift from a hybrid session to mostly remote. In the House, we continuously re-evaluated our session operations plan and made adjustments in response to COVID numbers and public health guidance.
By the time session wrapped up yesterday, we had more legislators on the House floor and in person on campus than at any other time since March of 2020. It was a huge difference from how the 2021 session ended.
That sends a message of hope and perseverance to the people of this state that we are indeed coming out this pandemic together.
I look forward to sharing more about the work we did in the 2022 session. It’s great to be back full-time in the 27th District, and I’m excited to hopefully see many of you out and about in the community over the coming months.
It’s an honor to serve you.