Week one – Jan. 10, 2022 to January 14, 2022

Welcome to week one of the 2022 legislative session, and Happy New Year to all of you!!

Although the hope was that the legislature would meet in person this year, a decision was made to be remote (for the most part) for at least the first two weeks of session, and then reassess regularly thereafter.  More legislators are in Olympia than last session, however all hearings are remote, and the JLOB (House Office building) and Cherberg building (building that houses the Senate Democrats and staff) are closed to the public.  The Capitol building is open but a number of the areas, including the deli and galleries, are closed.  So, we’re in a bit of a holding pattern, but in the meantime…

The 2022 legislative session got off to a fast start with hearings on the Governor’s operating and capital budgets, work sessions and hearings on a number of bills, and floor action where the House and Senate passed bills from last session that had reverted back to their respective Rules committees.  2022, as mandated by law, is a short session (60 days) and a supplemental budget year.  Supplemental budget years typically do not include huge changes to the biennial budget but we are not living in a typical time and considerable revenue is in deliberation, including over one billion dollars (!) in one-time federal money.  Who knows? Seems as if the budget development process could look quite different than a regular supplemental year??!!

As always, Partners for Our Children (P4C) will update our searchable weekly legislative tracker on the P4C website as well as send out this short recap of the week.  Due to staffing issues, we will start with the website updates next week.  So that you still have access to timely information and summarized bills, this week we are attaching a Word document with all the relevant information. Next week we’re back to business as usual.

While we can’t cover all of the bills dealing with issues related to children, youth and families (e.g. child welfare, poverty, behavioral health, early learning, children’s health) we will do our best to include most of them. 

Please know that we welcome and respond well to input! Please contact Laurie or Nicole (emails below) if you think we have overlooked a significant piece of legislation, have summarized something incorrectly, or have other comments, suggestions, or questions.

The legislature has many critical issues in front of them, including housing.  We are fortunate that the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance will be tracking housing bills and budget items.  if you are interested in following housing issues, they have a weekly update call you should feel free to join on Fridays at 1:30 p.m.  To register, go to: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvceGppz0qGdSYiayBXUppEVxagEZSs7Wk

Additionally, Poverty Action convenes calls every other Friday at 9:00 a.m. (beginning 1-21-22) to talk about poverty/TANF related issues.  To participate, go to:

https://zoom.us/j/91649692040?pwd=YlQ0b1pqVGVFZnB5WG1jVTRRU1puZz09

Meeting ID: 916 4969 2040
Passcode: TANF

Another incredibly valuable resource is leg.wa.gov.  You can find out a tremendous amount at the website, and we strongly encourage you to use it!

Also, you no longer have to fight the traffic, snow, rain, parking challenges, early morning/late night drives to and from Olympia, etc. to see you legislators or testify at a hearing.  You can do it all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are! 

Thank you in advance for your interest in issues related to children, youth and families and for engaging in the legislative process.  You can -and do- make a difference!

P.S.  The tracker/update team this year includes Claire Phillips, our amazing MSW pracitum student who will summarize most of the bills.  We’re also joined by Emily Parker, Communications Assistant who starts next week.  And, as always, the two of us: Laurie Lippold, Public Policy Director, and  Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager.

Have a great week and thank you so much!