Legislative session crossing its halfway point

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February 6, 2024

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Washington State Legislature’s scheduled 60-day session is progressing smoothly. My colleagues and I have completed 30 days of the session, so we are halfway through the 60-day process. During the middle of the session, senators spend the majority of their time in the full Senate chambers, considering bills approved from committees.

At this stage in the process, if their committees have not approved bills, they are likely unable to advance further. Also, since this is the second year of the biennium, the two-year legislative period, bills that do not advance will not be eligible again unless they are reintroduced in the next session.

Capital sunset

The popular sundial is in view as the sun sets over the state Capitol in Olympia. When it’s not raining, the sundial is a typical gathering spot on the Capitol campus because it is centrally located between the Capitol Building and the House and Senate office buildings.

Hawkins talking

After several committee meetings, the Senate is now focused mostly on “floor voting.” This session phase involves debate in the full Senate on the bills that successfully advanced from their legislative committees.

Senate and House focused on "floor" voting

The Senate has spent several days “on the floor” for this portion of the session, meaning we are at our desks in the Senate Chamber to debate and vote on bills placed on the voting calendars by the Senate Rules Committee. The Rules Committee acts as a final gatekeeper after committee approvals and before votes by the full Senate.

During this phase of the lawmaking process, my colleagues and I will begin our work in the Senate chambers every morning, take a short lunch break, and continue with debates and votes throughout the afternoon. The Republicans and Democrats will take breaks for caucus meetings throughout the day to discuss bills and amendments. Sometimes, the Senate takes a dinner break before returning for more discussion and votes into the evening hours. The evening sessions can go very late and occasionally all the way into the following morning.


Many people view the Washington State Capitol from its exterior, enjoying the dome view. If you can visit Olympia or its surrounding area, I encourage you to visit the Capitol Building and tour the inside. For more information, click State Capitol Public Tours.

Senate "floor cutoff" quickly approaching

The entire legislative session is based on strict “cutoff” dates required for bills to advance further. In a 105-day session, those dates do not occur as quickly as during the 60-day session, leaving little time for bills to advance if questions or controversy arise. February 13 is the “floor cutoff,” the deadline for the Senate to pass bills introduced in our chamber, except for bills necessary to implement the operating, capital, or transportation budgets.

Once the floor cutoff has passed, my Senate colleagues and I will return to committee meetings to focus on bills approved by the House of Representatives. The House will likewise consider Senate-approved legislation in its committees.

Sage the page

The Senate welcomes students to serve as Pages at the Capitol. Pictured above is Sage Reynolds who served as a Senate Page during the opening week of session. The Legislative Page Program is a one-week experience (for students 14-16 years old) to learn about the legislative process. For more information, please review the Senate Page Program.

How to follow legislative activities

The Legislature utilizes various technology to ensure smooth operations and most of these resources are also available online. These resources are located at www.leg.wa.gov and include access to floor calendars, committee schedules, bill tracking services, roll call votes, and official agendas. If you are unsuccessful in finding your information, you can contact the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

My office also has three staff members plus a communications officer who assist me each day. We communicate regularly by phone, email, video conference, and in person. These options are available to constituents who want to follow my legislative activities. Television Washington or TVW.org allows the public to follow committee hearings and floor debates. If you have questions about the legislative process or the status of individual bills, the Legislative Information Center is also an excellent resource.

Here are some helpful ways to follow legislative and agency activities:

Enjoying visits from local officials

The role of a State Senator involves many duties, including analyzing bills, debating measures, taking votes, engaging in committee work, speaking to the media, touring your district, and hosting constituents. While I enjoy every aspect of my job, connecting with visiting constituents is my favorite. I can learn so much from them just by listening. This helps me better understand the district’s priorities so I can advocate for funding and better represent my communities when voting. It has been a real privilege to have connected with so many constituents this year, including city and county officials, teachers, agricultural leaders, tech professionals, utility representatives, and more.

Brad and three officials

I enjoyed meeting recently with 12th District fire officials to discuss legislation. Pictured above (from left to right): Deputy Chief Dave Kraski (North County Fire/EMS), Deputy Chief Michael McConnell (Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue) and Battalion Chief Scott Coulson (Sky Valley Fire).

Thank you for the opportunity to serve

My position as State Senator exists to serve you. If you have any questions about the session timeline, state budgets, or other topics, please contact me at senatorbradhawkins.org. Please call our Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 if you need immediate assistance at any time. Be sure to like and follow me on Facebook @SenatorBradHawkins, for my latest updates.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state senator.



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District

Website: senatorbradhawkins.org

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