The legislature has now passed the half-way point of the 105-day session 2023 legislation session. This week, legislators have devoted almost all of their time to debating bills on the floor. The deadline for passing bills out of their chamber of origin (House or Senate), is Wednesday, March 8th. This week there were several floor debates that went late into the evening and even into the early hours of the morning. Throughout this part of the legislative process, some bills will die because they are simply not one of the majority party’s priorities or they lack adequate votes to bring to the floor. Other bills that are indeed majority caucus priorities will die on the floor calendar because the bills get weighed down with time-consuming amendments. As we approach the March 8th house of origin cut off, other bills will fail to advance because of the lack of time and too many bills moving through the process.
Housing issues continue to be front and center with several bills moving through the process this week. The Senate passed SB 5466 (Liias, D-21) which would encourage transit oriented development. The Senate also passed SB 5235 (Shewmake, D-42) that requires cities and counties to allow for ADUs. The House passed HB 1337 (Gregerson, D-33) that would allow for the construction of ADUs in urban growth areas. The House also passed HB 1474 (Taylor, D-30) which creates the Covenant Homeownership Account to assist individuals that were affected by racially restrictive covenants with first-time home purchasing costs.
Environmental issues have been on the agenda for majority Democrats this week as well. The House passed HB 1085 (Mena, D-29) this week, which seeks to address plastics use by eventually prohibiting hotels from providing small plastic bottles of soap and shampoo, requiring new construction that provides a drinking fountain to provide water bottle refill stations, and prohibiting the sale of expanded or extruded plastic foam overwater structures. Another Rep. Mena bill, HB 1047 passed this week as well. The legislation bans formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers, PFAS, lead, phthalates, and other chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products by 2025. The Senate passed SB 5447 (Billig, D-3) this week, a bill that among other elements, proposes a B&O and public utilities tax credit for sales and purchases of alternative jet fuel upon notification of a production facility operating in Washington. Governor’s request legislation HB 1216 (Fitzgibbon, D-34) passed out of the House on Saturday, March 4th. This legislation seeks to create an Interagency Clean Energy Siting Coordinating Council to be co-chaired by the Department of Ecology and the Department of Commerce.