Session is here! What you need to know.

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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  January 8, 2021

Sworn in for a fourth term

Returning for a different kind of session

Swearing In

Sen. Padden signs his Oath of Office as Judge Patti Connolly Walker looks on.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Yesterday, I was sworn into a fourth term in the Senate by Spokane County District Court Judge Patti Connolly Walker. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Olympia, the swearing-in ceremony was held in Judge Walker’s courtroom in the County Public Safety Building in downtown Spokane and attended only by my wife and an aide.

I appreciate the trust you have showed in my ability to represent you by returning me to Olympia for another term. I plan to work hard every day to be your voice, stand up for your rights and address your and your family’s concerns.

Given the restrictions on public participation this year, it will be more important than ever that you stay in touch and communicate directly with our office. That is why I will be maintaining my district office, sending out legislative surveys (like the one below) and encouraging the public to sign up for remote-testimony opportunities

This edition of Report from Olympia offers some critical information you need to know to stay connected, informed and involved this session.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your thoughts with me. Starting Monday, you can contact our Olympia office at the toll-free legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000. You can also call our district office at 921-2460, the Olympia office at 1-360-7606 or email me directly.

Thanks again for the opportunity to serve as your voice in our state Senate.

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

2021 Session: What you need to know

Our 2021 legislative staff is here to help you.

This session is going to differ from any other before it. On Monday, Jan. 11, when we convene in Olympia, the majority party will formally adopt rules to allow for a primarily virtual session, which will include the closure of Senate buildings to the public. Debates and votes on legislation that would normally occur on the floor of the Senate Chamber will instead be conducted remotely, with just a few staff and senators participating in person. The same is true of hearings and work sessions. And as a reminder, while people will be permitted to peacefully protest on campus, they will not be allowed to gather inside the Capitol Rotunda or sit in the Senate and House galleries.

Keeping you informed is a top priority for me. In the weeks to come, I will do my utmost to ensure the work of your state government stays accountable and transparent.

Here are some helpful links to keep you connected:

  • My legislative website| Here you will find my contact information, biography, news releases, email updates, news clips, bills, and other information. 
  • The 4th District Government Guide | In this resource book, you will find the phone numbers, email addresses and offices of city, county, state and federal officials who represent you.
  • The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe. 
  • TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
  • Legislature's website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature are here.
  • State agencies| Find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.

Bill tracking instructions

  • Go to
  • On the left-hand panel, click “Bill Information.”
  • If you know the bill number, enter it in the search field and hit enter.
  • Don't have a bill number? Under the section “Standard Reports,” you'll find alternative tracking tools. You may search based on topic, legislative digests, cross-references and or within a specific biennium.

Legislature posts remote-testimony rules for 2021 Session

By Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center | Jan 4, 2021

Remote Testimony

Back in 2013 we had a dream that the Legislature would allow citizens to participate in the legislative debate from across the state with remote testimony. Due to 2020 events that shall not be named, that dream is now a reality across House and Senate committees for the 2021 Legislative Session. The Legislature has posted the rules for how remote testimony will work. 

A few important things to remember:

  • “Testimony registration will close 1 hour before the start time of the hearing. Anyone who does not register before this deadline will be unable to testify before the committee.”
  • “Ensure your registration information is accurate. It will be a part of the legislative record and used by TVW for online and television graphics.”
  • “You may participate via videoconference or phone.”
  • “Registering to testify does not guarantee you a chance to speak or speak at specific times. Time constraints, technical issues, changes to committee schedules, etc. could affect your ability to testify.”
  • “The committee Chair may limit public testimony to as little as one minute per testifier because of time constraints. Be prepared to testify at any point during the hearing.”
  • Providing written testimony is also available but: “Written testimony will close 24 hours after the start time of the hearing.”

Be sure to bookmark these pages to participate:

With historic debates to come on emergency powers, COVID-19 relief, taxes and more in store for this session, the timing is perfect for this important citizen legislative-access reform. It is now up to you to take advantage of this opportunity to participate and help shape the laws that will govern us. Let your voice be heard!

Legislative Update:

Several bills already ‘pre-filed’


Despite the challenges of a remote session, we have already pre-filed several bills, including some that have already been scheduled for public hearings. Among the bills we’re sponsoring are:

  • Senate Bill 5009, enacting the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act;
  • Senate Bill 5024, which is aimed at reducing the barriers to condominium construction;
  • Senate Bill 5027, which would aid Washingtonians with hearing disabilities;
  • Senate Bill 5053, which would address parental notification for abortions;
  • Senate Bill 5054, which would further strengthen the state’s DUI laws; and,
  • Senate Bill 5094, concerning the creation of a policy on the use of vascular neck restraints by members of law enforcement.

Our condo-construction bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee next Tuesday at 10 a.m. The committee will also hear testimony on the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act on Jan. 14 at 10:30 a.m.

Extension of COVID-19 restrictions ‘callous’ and not based on science


Prior to the end of the year, Governor Inslee announced that he would extend his restrictions on restaurants, bars and other public facilities. This week, he followed up that announcement with news that he would be creating a new two-phase system that would allow some loosening of restrictions. So far, that plan has been met with skepticism that the standards can actually be achieved, leaving many business owners and their employees feeling distraught of the loss of their livelihood.

Inslee has repeatedly claimed that he is following the science in making decisions about how to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but this decision flies in the face of science, as there is no evidence that restaurants are a significant source of virus transmission.

Governor Inslee’s arbitrary, unilateral decision to extend these harsh restrictions will continue to punish small businesses that have already gone above and beyond to comply with recommended safety measures. His callous move shows very little concern for our business owners or their employees who have gone without paychecks due to the governor’s shutdown orders.

I look forward to voting on many of the measures that have been introduced to review the emergency powers of the governor and restore the balance between the executive and legislative branches.


Understanding your priorities is extremely helpful to me in serving as your voice in the state Senate. This is especially true as we formulate legislation for the new 2021 session, which will be unlike any session in history. Please take my 2021 Constituent Survey and let me know your top legislative priorities for the state and the 4th Legislative District.

Click here to complete the survey now!

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!

Phone: (360) 786-7606

Street address: 106 Irv Newhouse Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA 98504

Postal address: PO Box 40404, Olympia, WA 98504

Email address:

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden's Olympia office, which will be open starting Jan. 6, at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton who is the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.