First Legislative Update of 2023 - State of Washington session begins

Happy 2023! This year’s state legislative session kicked off on Monday with the swearing in of Legislators and the election of the Speaker of the House, Laurie Jinkins (D- Tacoma). This will be the first post-pandemic session where all legislators will be on-site in Olympia. Roughly one-third of the Senators and Representatives are new since the pandemic. So lots of people are getting acquainted. Here’s a few things that are happening this week.

Governor Inslee to Deliver State of the State Address
Governor Jay Inslee will present his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the Senate and the House today (Jan. 10) at noon. Gov. Inslee has identified housing and homelessness, behavioral health, climate change, salmon protection and public safety as his funding priorities in his proposed 2023-25 budgets. Also in his proposed budget is $5.2 million for The Imagination Library.

House and Senate Budget Committees Hold Initial Hearings
Using the Governor’s proposed budgets, House and Senate committees are holding hearings on state spending plans for the 2023-2025 biennium (State fiscal years start on July 1.)

  • Senate Ways & Means - Public Hearing on Governor’s proposed operating budgets, today, Jan. 10, 4 p.m.

  • House Appropriations - Work Session and Public Hearing on Governor’s proposed operating budgets, Jan. 11, 4 p.m.

  • House Capital Budget - Work Session and Public Hearing on Governor’s proposed capital budget and public testimony on legislation including HB 1149 targeting homelessness, Jan. 12, 1:30 p.m..

  • Senate Ways & Means - Public Hearing on  Capital Budget and its role in targeting homelessness - Jan. 12, 4 p.m.

Washington 211 Seeking Full Funding for 2023-25
Since the inception of the three-digit dialing service in 2006, 2-1-1 has helped over five million callers in the state of Washington by providing “No Wrong Door” access to needed services with professional live assistance. Unfortunately, the service has never been fully funded so the service is available only Monday through Friday during regular business hours and callers can experience long waits before connecting to a live person. This year, Washington 211 proposes a major increase in state funding that will allow it to operate 24/7 and lower wait times. More on this as the session progresses.

Basic Income Pilot Program Bill Introduced
Representative Liz Berry (D-Seattle) has introduced HB 1045  which would create the Evergreen Basic Income Pilot Program. The House Committee on Human Services, Youth, & Early Learning will take public testimony on the bill, Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 1:30 p.m. Here’s the link where you can identify the committee and bill you would like to comment on or indicate your support for.