Advocacy Update – February 2023
This Month in Advocacy: Washington's State Legislature is back in person; Housing bills are voted off the Floor; and the release of several proposed budgets and taxes.
State Legislative Session Update
Washington’s State Legislature is back in person and moving through the long 105 day session at an effective pace. This year there have been well over 1,500 bills introduced so far. While the legislation in Olympia covers a wide variety of issues, the bills this year seem to be heavily focused on a few key priorities: addressing the housing shortage, creating the biennial budget, criminal justice reform, nurse staffing, and climate change.
Housing supply and affordability remains a top priority. As we approach the end of week 8, a number of bills pertaining to the creation of housing in the form of ADUs and use of existing buildings have been the first to be voted off the Floor. These bills have seen broad bipartisan support, signaling a legislative body united in addressing the housing crisis in our state.
The legislative calendar has passed its first two cut-off deadlines: bills that failed to pass out of their policy committees by Feb. 17 are dead for the year, as are bills that did not pass out of their fiscal committees by Feb. 24. At this time all bills must be in one of three places:
- In the house of origin Rules Committee, which determines which bills make it to the house of origin floor for a vote;
- On the schedule for a floor vote in the house of origin; or
- In the second house, having passed out of the house of origin.
The release of the revenue forecast is expected in March. Once made public, the House and Senate will release their respective Capital, Operating, and Transportation budget proposals for the 2023-25 biennium. This year, the House is expected to release their budget first, with the Senate following soon after. Once both chambers release their proposed budgets, robust negotiations will begin and continue for many weeks. As it stands, the biggest uncertainty as it relates to the state budget is the new capital gains tax currently being collected by the state. This tax is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for things such as early learning and childcare. Currently, the capital gains tax is being challenged in the state Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court strikes down the tax, it will result in a substantial hole in the budget.
For questions about any of these bills or other legislation under consideration, contact Samantha Morrow.