Traditions, local voices featured as session opens

Senate portrait header

January 11, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The opening of a legislative session always features some important traditions. On the session’s first day, for instance, the big double doors to the Senate and House chambers are opened so designated members may walk across the Rotunda to deliver and receive formal messages to and from the opposite chamber. And later in the week my Senate colleagues and I make the short trek beneath the dome to the House for the traditional joint session at which the governor delivers the “state of the state” address (this year it was Tuesday, and also featured the Wenatchee High School vocal jazz ensemble singing our national anthem).

Monday’s opening of the 2018 session brought the introduction of two new senators, from districts just across the Cascades. We also elected a new Senate president pro tempore, who will preside over the Senate when the lieutenant governor is unavailable, and adopted deadlines for moving legislation forward.

with Senator Wagoner

One of my new colleagues is Senator Keith Wagoner, who was appointed on Jan. 3. He serves the 39th Legislative District, which meets our 12th District along the Cascade crest, from south of U.S. 2 to north of state Highway 20.

It’s good that the ceremonies and formalities don’t take up much time, however, especially in even-numbered years like 2018. Because our regular sessions are limited to 60 days, instead of the 105 days allowed in odd-numbered years, the deadlines for taking action on bills come up faster – and accordingly, the pace of our work has to be much quicker.

For example, Senate policy committees have 40 days during the “long” sessions to consider and act on Senate bills. This year we have just 26 days for that stage of committee work, which makes for highly compressed schedules. Committees meet more often so they can still give proper consideration to the bills selected by the committee chairs for public hearings and votes. The Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee, one of my new assignments, has already met three times this week.

While you might think that a shorter regular session would mean a significant drop in the amount of legislation introduced, I haven’t found that to be the case. Close to 250 bills were prefiled before we convened Monday, and hundreds more will be introduced in the next few weeks. Click here for my Tuesday interview with KOHO radio about the bills I am filing and other early-session news.

The same is true for the number of people who write, call or meet in person with their lawmakers. Because each bill has people who support it, and many have both supporters and opponents, the stream of visitors to legislators’ offices will be about as steady this year as it was in 2017, as will the volume of phone calls, letters and e-mails.

Even though my schedule will be much tighter this year, I hope you will continue to contact my office if you have questions or comments about legislation introduced this session, or other issues concerning state government. If you are thinking about traveling to Olympia to meet with me, please let me know as early as possible so that I can do my best to fit you into my hectic schedule during this “short” session.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your 12th District state senator.


Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District


107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000