Welcome to the 2023 legislative session! The first in-person session since 2020 kicked off on Monday, Jan. 9. For some legislators it was the first time they met many of their colleagues in 3D!
The response to being back in person has been positive, although many acknowledge that it is an adjustment. While much is the same as it was in 2020, there are some major changes. People can no longer freely walk around from office to office on any floor of pretty much any building. Instead, security must let you in to the office areas, and, for that to happen, you need to be on a list. One of the main cafeterias has greatly reduced options. A temporary building now houses Republican Senators and staff building they were in is going to be torn down); and masks can be seen on the faces of some staff, legislators, lobbyists, and others. Yet, fewer people wear them than don’t! The best change, in the minds of many, is the ability to continue to testify remotely! Committee chairs and staff are doing an incredible job going back and forth between in-person and remote testimony, and it is extremely successful in terms of access for so many people who would not be able to participate otherwise.
This is the first of many weekly updates and bill trackers, as this is a long, 105-day session. We will cover a number of topics in the Partners for Our Children’s updates, and we will also refer readers to other sites that go more in-depth. The updates do not express a position or recommend action but do provide a summary of various bills and indicate their status.
Additionally, due to staff changes, we now will send the bill tracker in a basic chart format that will be linked to the weekly update. And speaking of staff changes, sadly we are saying goodbye to Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Partners for Our Children’s Communications Manager is leaving. Gratefully, we are welcoming Jarel Sanders, the new Public Policy Associate, to the team. We’ll miss you, Nicole, and we are happy to have you on board, Jarel!
Remember two of your best friends during the legislative session are TVW where you can watch hearings – live or recorded, and leg.wa.gov, where you can access all bills, information about legislators, find all the RCWs and WACs, and much more.
As we start the session, we want to acknowledge your interest and involvement in issues related to children, youth, and families. Thank you. And now, get ready for a long and hopefully successful 2023 legislative session! If you have questions, see errors in the bills, or whatever, don’t hesitate to reach out to: Laurie Lippold – email@example.com
Happy new year!