Advocacy Update - January 2024

This Month in Advocacy: The 2024 Legislative Session Begins, and AIA WA members head to Olympia for Capitol Connections.

Photo: The 2024 Washington state legislative session gets underway in the House of Representatives on Jan. 8, 2024. (Laurel Demkovich/Washington State Standard)

2024 Legislative Session Begins

The 2024 legislative session kicked off on January 8 with a flurry of activities, including opening ceremonies, caucus priorities, and the House passing several bills from the last session to the Senate. This “short session” is set to run until March 7, presenting a tight 60-day window for addressing a myriad of policy, politics, and supplemental budgets.

Legislative leaders have outlined key focus areas, including housing, transportation, behavioral health, public safety, climate change, and education. Already, a record-breaking 932 new bills have been introduced within the first week, indicating a busy session ahead. In addition to newly introduced bills, all bills that did not pass during the 2023 session are still alive this year.

As we navigate through the initial weeks, legislators are deeply engaged in policy and fiscal committees, participating in public hearings and voting on bills. This first major deadline of the session is on January 31, when all bills must pass out of their respective policy committees to remain alive. This is closely followed by the fiscal committee cutoff, when all bills must pass out of their respective fiscal committees to advance.

Adding a unique dynamic to this session are six citizen initiatives aiming directly at key Democratic priorities in tax, environmental, public safety, and education policy.

Looking back on the first week, our priority companion rolling clock bills, HB 1880 and SB 5794, were both heard in committee. As a reminder, these bills seek to eliminate the rolling clock, an arbitrary five-year period in which applicants must pass all six divisions of the licensing exam, from Washington state statute. Both bills were slightly amended to allow a one-month delay to the implementation date to accommodate DOL and voted out unanimously out of their respective committees. The bills now sit in Rules in both the House and Senate, awaiting the opportunity to be pulled to the floor for a vote.

Additionally, HB 2008, which creates a task force to ascertain the primary factors driving housing costs in Washington, was passed out of the policy committee. AIAWA met with the prime sponsor to express the need for representation from our industry on the taskforce, and the bill was amended to accommodate.

Other bills of interest – including those related to AI regulation, co-living housing, lot splitting, parking flexibility, and transit-oriented development – were also heard in the policy committee:

  • SB 5838– AI Taskforce – Public hearing in Senate on 1/10 and Executive session scheduled for 1/19
  • HB 1998SB 5901 Co-living Housing- Passed out of House Housing Committee on 1/11 and referred to Rules Committee. Public hearing in Senate Local Government Committee on 1/9.
  • HB 1245 Lot Splitting – Returning from last session, HB 1245 was voted off the House Floor on 1/8. It has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee.
  • SB 6015 Parking Flexibility – Public hearing in Senate Local Government Committee on 1/11.
  • HB 2160 /SB 6024 Transit Oriented Development – Passed out of House Housing Committee on 1/15 and Public Hearing in Senate Local Government Committee on 1/11.

Please reach out to Samantha if you’d like to get involved in AIAWA policy committees or see an up-to-date version of our 2024 bill tracker.

AIA Washington | Capitol Connections

AIAWA members will head to Olympia for an in-person Capitol Connections event on January 23, 2024. Members will be discussing the rolling clock, HB 1880 & SB 5794, along with the Energy Upgrade Navigator Program, HB 1391.

This lobby day promises not only to be impactful but also an enjoyable experience for both members and legislators alike. Your participation is crucial in making our collective voice heard on these important matters to help shape our industry’s future for the better.

We’d love to hear from you! For more information on advocacy topics, please contact:

Samantha Morrow | Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy, AIA Washington Council & AIA Seattle