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March 14, 2018

It’s a Wrap! Highs & Lows from Olympia

by contributor
Washington's flag
The 2018 legislative session is over.

Washington's Capitol in OlyThe 2018 legislative session is over. The Legislature officially adjourned sine die on Thursday, March 8, following a flurry of activity. After passing a capital budget and resolving a contentious water rights issue early in the 60-day session, lawmakers tackled a number of priorities leading up to the Thursday night deadline. Their accomplishments last week include passing a supplemental operating budget package that cuts statewide property taxes and funds teacher salaries, finalizing a deal to change state law regarding use of deadly force by police, and passing a bill to address gender pay inequity.

This session legislators introduced over 2,500 bills and the Washington State Bar Association’s Legislative Affairs team referred 415 bills to relevant bar entities for review and potential action. WSBA entities engaged in this year’s session on issues related to veterans’ rights, youth homelessness, the Voting Rights Act, and many others. Legislative engagement ranged from testifying before a legislative committee, sending written correspondence to a bill sponsor, and more. Here’s a summary of WSBA-request and WSBA entity-supported legislation:

2018 WSBA-Supported Legislation

  • WSBA-Request, Senate Bill 6040 (origin: Business Law Section). The bill amends the state’s Business Corporation Act (RCW 23B) to make Washington more business-friendly by allowing for electronic voting at corporate meetings. There is no fiscal impact.
    Status: SB 6040 passed the Senate (49-0) and the House (98-0) unanimously and has been delivered to the governor for signature.
  • House Bill 1896 (Sponsor: Rep. Laurie Dolan, D-22). The bill expands civics education in public schools. There is an estimated fiscal impact of $322,000 (state general fund) for FY 2019.
    Status: SSB 1896 passed the House (98-0) and the Senate (95-3) and has been delivered to the governor for signature.

2018 WSBA Entity-Supported Legislation

  • Senate Bill 6002 (Sponsor: Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-37). This bill was supported by the Civil Rights Law Section, with the Board of Governors Legislative Committee’s approval. The bill enacts the Washington Voting Rights Act of 2018. There is an estimated fiscal impact of $10,000 (state general fund) for FY 2019.
    Status: SB 6002 passed the Senate (29-20) and the House (52-46) and has been delivered to the governor for signature.
  • Senate Bill 6052 (Sponsor: Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-16). This bill was supported by the Civil Rights Law Section, with the Board of Governors’ approval. The bill eliminates the death penalty in Washington and instead requires life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole as the sentence for aggravated first-degree murder. There is an indeterminate fiscal impact for FY 2019.
    Status: SB 6052 passed the Senate (26-22) but did not receive a vote in the House. The bill has been returned to the Senate Rules Committee, and this issue will likely be considered next session.

As always, please get in touch with me if you have any comments or questions and stay tuned for more legislative updates later this year.

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