The 2023 Legislative Session, Involuntary Treatment Act, and More in the New Bar News

Cover of June 2023 Bar News

The 2023 Washington legislative session was a veritable who’s who list of divisive political issues. Affordable housing, assault weapons, drug possession, the death penalty—all were on the docket this year in Olympia. Indeed, over the 105-day session, followed by a brief special session, the WSBA Legislative Affairs Team tracked roughly 500 bills.

“Several significant policy measures passed this year. The Legislature voted to allow multi-family housing in nearly every part of the state to increase the number of housing units in neighborhoods currently reserved for single-family homes…,” writes  Legislative Affairs Manager Sanjay Walvekar in the new issue of Washington State Bar News. “A number of bills related to policing and criminal justice reform passed this session, including legislation clarifying situations when police can engage in a vehicular pursuit (Engrossed Senate Bill 5352) and removing the death penalty from state law after a decades-long effort to end the practice (Substitute Senate Bill 5087).”

In addition to a brief glimpse at the hundreds of bills the Legislative Affairs Team tracked for WSBA sections, Walvekar also provides an overview of the WSBA’s Bar-request legislation, a look at the special session to address statewide drug possession law, and some of the expected issues to watch when the Legislature reconvenes in January 2024.

This issue of Bar News also explores a bevy of Washington laws, policies, and organizations of relevance to the state’s legal profession.

In a collaborative article coauthored by eight attorneys with the Snohomish County Public Defender Association, you can learn about Washington’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA).

“The ITA affects all types of legal practices,” they write. “Have you already encountered the ITA? If not, there is a good chance you will.”

If you ever wanted to dive deep into Washington’s Office of Administrative Hearings, Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge Johnette Sullivan explains why it has been “[a]n innovation from its beginning in 1982.”

Seattle-based attorney Thomas M. Williams describes how “a contract provision can sometimes be so unfair, so unjust, that it would be deemed unenforceable” and how the Washington Supreme Court’s opinion in Tadych v. Noble Ridge Contr., Inc. “may have just changed the game.”

There’s much more in the new issue, including the list of all 124 future lawyers who passed the February 2023 Lawyer Bar Exam, writing tips from David J.S. Ziff that can help “make the judge want to decide in your favor,” an overview by Mark Fucile of the ethics of “remote work in Washington and beyond,” and thoughts from WSBA President Daniel D. Clark about why “the rural attorney shortage is turning into a crisis in Washington state.”