As we end Week 3, we’re just a few days away from the first major cutoff of legislative session. All bills must have a hearing and receive a vote by Wednesday, January 31 in a policy committee or they will not move forward this session (there are exceptions for budget-related bills).
Deadlines are also approaching for legislators to submit their budget requests to begin building budget proposals. We’re seeing the legislature begin to prioritize some bills and budget items over others, which will only increase over the coming weeks.
We’ve learned that the Ninth Grade Success Initiative bills (HB 2053 and SB 5408) are unlikely to move forward this session, so we’re focusing on securing budget investments via our House and Senate champions. It is essential our champions and budget leaders hear about the impact of this work in communities across Washington. Please join our virtual Day of Action on Feb. 8 as one way to commit to contacting your lawmaker.
Other highlights from this week
- SB 5974, to remove unenforceable juvenile court debt that can follow people for a lifetime, moved out of the Senate Rules committee. The next step is a vote by the full Senate by Feb 13.
- SB 6254 was heard on Wed.; this bill from Sen. Nobles would expand student navigational supports to increase postsecondary enrollment, with a particular emphasis on helping students with the financial aid process.
- Two important bills regarding resentencing individuals received hearings this week and are scheduled for votes early next week.
Did you know: Both bills above have profound racial justice implications. Nearly 1 in 4 individuals serving very long prison sentences are Black, while Black people make up less than 5 percent of the Washington population. And Washington incarcerates Indigenous people at more than 6x the rate of white people. This over-policing and over-incarceration begins in childhood; we’re committed to preventing youth criminalization and supporting efforts to review lengthy sentences based on outdated practices.
We will need to keep the pressure on for all our priorities in order to keep them top of mind for lawmakers as they whittle down their priorities in the coming week. Stay tuned for action opportunities!
Government Affairs Director