The 2023 Washington State Legislature Activity  

Summary of some of the 2023 Washington State Legislature activity

by Bruce Radtke

You may have been watching the Washington House and/or Senate to see if a bill you favor passed.  For further information on any bill, look online It is an excellent website.

If it was to ban the sale of assault-type weapons in WA, that bill passed (HB1240).  Another gun safety bill requires a background check and a 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases, and it also passed (HB1143).

A major goal for several legislators was to pass housing legislation to increase housing.  Housing discrimination due to restrictive real estate covenants was covered by a bill to create covenant home ownership accounts (HB1474).  Another bill that passed was for “Expanding Housing Options,” namely accessory dwelling units (HB1337).  

Protecting health care providers for reproductive or gender-affirming care passed in this largely Democratic House and Senate (ESHB1340).  Another bill passed increased access to the “Death with Dignity Act” (ESSB5179).  The “My Health, My Data Act” was signed by the Governor (HB1155).  

The Growth Management Act requires planning specifically for climate change challenges (HB1181) and a WA Climate Corps was created with HB1176. 

In these days when some states are limiting voting opportunities, in WA see the Enhanced WA Voting Rights Act (ESHB1048).

For expanding child welfare housing assistance, see HB1186/SB5256.  Helpful child-care subsidies are granted to immigrant families (SB5225).

Local legislators sponsored the Hunger-Free Campus bill (HB1559), and the Governor has also signed Hunger Relief — for food banks & senior meals (HB1784).  Provide free school meals for all (HB1238).  It costs more money to fund special education (HB1436).  Sent to the Governor’s desk is a bill to prevent harassment, bullying & discrimination in schools (HB1207).

What are the Legal Financial Obligations of defendants who have been convicted (HB1169)?  Legal now is compassionate release for some incarcerated people (SB5101), and re-entry services for incarcerated people is covered by SB5134.  WA State acknowledges a major concern with Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Persons Cold Case Unit (HB1177).  Remove death penalty from state law (SB5087) was signed by Governor Inslee.

At the Special Session on 16 May 23 the Legislature passed SB5536, which will increase the “knowing” possession of controlled substances to a gross misdemeanor.

There is no room here to comment on significant bills that died this session.  Further efforts to pass legislation for justice await your input to your legislators for the 2024 session.