Wrapping up the 2019 legislative session?

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Wrapping up the 2019 legislative session?


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Olympia! This week marks the final few days of the 2019 legislative session – the regular session, that is, meaning the 105 days allotted by the state constitution. Although lawmakers have put in many long hours, we still do not have final operating, transportation and capital budgets because Democrats are proposing unnecessary taxes. These proposed taxes are unnecessary because we have almost $4 billion above and beyond what we anticipated.  Unless the budgets and the bills to implement them are adopted by the end of the day Sunday, we will have to go into a “special” session. That would be a huge disappointment, as the state economy is doing great and has provided more than enough revenue to write a budget within our means and finish the legislative session on time – all without the need to raise taxes this year.


Good and bad bills that passed the Legislature this session

While legislators are still working (and waiting) to approve bills dealing with the final budgets, I wanted to update you on some bills that have completed their journey through the lawmaking process – and one bill that should.

Bad bills:

House Bill 1087  –  A new billion-dollar payroll tax

  • This bill puts a 0.58 percent premium (tax) on employee paychecks to create the Long Term Services and Supports Trust Program where an individual that contributes into the fund for at least 500 hours per year for 3 of the last 6 years. The maximum benefit is $36,500 per person. The bill seeks to provide care for individuals who are in need of assistance with daily living, such as mobility and hygiene issues. This is for individuals who qualify for Medicaid and who are assessed by DSHS as needing assistance with at least three daily living needs. Once you hit the $36.5K mark, the benefits stop.

Senate Bill 5116 – Higher energy costs

  • This “100 percent clean energy” bill will, by 2025, prohibit electrical utilities from using electricity from coal. By 2030, all utilities should be greenhouse-gas neutral. By 2045, all utilities must rely on 100-percent clean- and renewable-energy sources. It will most definitely raise costs of electricity for the consumer, as there are various fees on top of costs involved in the transition that will be imposed on the utilities. It also restricts growth of hydropower-generation stations, which is where a majority of our renewable energy comes from.

Good bills:

Senate Bill 5612 – Holocaust education

  • Every public middle, junior high and high school is strongly encouraged to include instruction on the events of the Holocaust. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must partner with nonprofit organizations that teach lessons on the Holocaust to develop best-practices guidelines, encourage and support teachers in implementing them and train teachers who teach in subjects relevant to the topic.

Senate Bill 5091 – Special-education funding (note: this bill has stalled in the House of Representatives)

  • This bill would increase special-education spending and require training for staff that ensures more inclusion for special-education students. Special education is a basic-education program. This bill would support the inclusion of students with disabilities. Currently, 55 percent of students with disabilities in Washington are educated in a general-education classroom for the majority of the school day. For students of color, this number drops to 47 percent. The state needs to create more inclusive educational environments by providing additional support, such as professional development, or a tiered system.

On a personal note, I am very pleased my bill to recognize the validity of “distributed ledger” technology was signed by the governor today!  Washington state is a leader in the development of blockchain/distributed ledger technology yet we did not recognize this as a valid form of technology.  Other states have embraced this technology and use it to manage digital records such as tracking food distribution chain, cattle, real estate contracts and many other uses. Senate Bill 5638 will ensure that Washington will be recognized for the leader that it is in this emerging technology. 




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Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

Legislative Video: University of Washington Medicine Government Affairs Director Ian Goodhew

Watch my latest legislative update video where I’m joined by Ian Goodhew from UW Medicine as we talk about my bill, Senate Bill 5627.

Watch my video update


Click to watch this week's video update!

In closing…

As always, I value hearing directly from you. I am here to be your voice, and your feedback on bills before the Senate is very important to me. If you would like to contact me please write, phone, e-mail, or stop by if you’re in the Olympia area. 


April 26, 2019



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