Washington Legislative Update - March 2021

Prepared by Brandon Anderson, SPEEA Legislative Director

For the next few weeks, Washington lawmakers will be moving to “floor action,” a term used to
describe the process when the two houses convene to vote on bills recently passed out of

The first in a series of deadlines for lawmakers was Feb. 15, when all policy bills were required
to be voted out of committee to continue.

Feb. 22 marked the deadline for all bills impacting the budget to be voted out of the appropriate
fiscal committee. The budgetary committees include the House Finance, Appropriations, Capital
Budget and Transportation Committees and the Senate Ways & Means and Transportation

March 9 marks the cutoff deadline for bills to move out of their house of origin – House or
Senate. Bills that do not make the cutoff deadlines are considered “dead” for the remainder of the
session. The deadlines do not necessarily apply to measures considered “necessary to implement
the budget.”

As we move into the final 60 days of the 105-day session, SPEEA continues working to ensure
our priorities move through the legislative process and problematic bills do not.

Update on key state bills

Growing Washington’s Manufacturing Workforce (HB 1170): This bill establishes a goal for
Washington to become the state with the highest share of its workforce employed in
manufacturing and research and development occupations. HB 1170 also creates a
manufacturing council to advise and consult the legislature and state agencies on growing the
manufacturing workforce. As requested by SPEEA, the House amended the bill to include an
equal representation of labor, business and geographic regions on the advisory council. The bill
passed out of the policy and fiscal committees with bipartisan support and is currently awaiting a
full vote on the House floor.

Public Broadband Access (HB 1336): If passed, this bill allows public utility districts, port
districts, cities, towns and counties to provide retail telecommunications services (broadband) to
underserved communities. With few market incentives, many Washingtonians still do not have
access to essential internet services. As a result of the pandemic, this access issue has become
even more disruptive as individuals and students work remotely. Increased access to broadband
infrastructure is also critical to recruiting new aerospace suppliers and advanced manufacturing
companies to the state. HB 1336 passed the House and will soon begin the voting process in the

Worker Protection Act (HB 1076): Championed by the Washington State Labor Council
(WSLC), AFL-CIO and its affiliates, this bill expands workplace safety enforcement by allowing
employees to file lawsuits against employers who violate workplace safety laws. HB 1076 wouldmake it easier to enforce existing workplace standards and protect workers from safety violations and employer retaliation. The bill has passed the policy and fiscal committee cutoffs and is waiting for a “pull” from the House Rules Committee, so it can go to a full vote of the House
before the March 9 deadline.

2021 legislative deadlines:

  • Feb. 15 – Deadline for bills to pass out of policy committees.
  • Feb. 22 – Deadline for bills to pass out of fiscal committees. Bills impacting the state
    budget typically must be heard by both a policy committee and a fiscal committee.
  • March 9 – Deadline for bills to pass their house of origin (House or Senate).
  • March 26 – Deadline for bills to pass out of the policy committees in the opposite house.
  • April 2 – Deadline for bills to pass out of the fiscal committees in the opposite house.
  • April 11 – Deadline for bills (not related to the budget) to pass the opposite house.
  • April 25 – Session ends (Sine Die).

Legislative Flier - pdf

New advocacy tools

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Legislature is holding meetings and events remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this year’s unique session, it is critical SPEEA members and families continue to participate during the legislative session.

Participating remotely:

  • Engage  Join SPEEA in union member “calls to action,” hosted events, and remote campaigns.
  • Learn  The whole legislative process, from start to finish, is explained here.
  • Watch  Go to for broadcasts of debates, votes, committee meetings, and other events in the House and Senate.
  • Research  Look up legislation by lawmaker or topic, visit the bill information site.
  • Testify  Holding a remote session does not mean SPEEA members do not have a voice. The legislature has a new system to submit remote testimony on any bill.

Contact if you are interested in participating in written or public testimony on a bill before the legislature.