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

Report from Olympia |  February 16, 2021

mike padden

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are now a third of the way through the 2021 legislative session. It’s been a very busy time at the Legislature, full of committee hearings and Senate votes on a handful of bills so far.

The “house of origin” policy cutoff was Monday at 5 p.m.– meaning that any bills that started in the Senate and weren’t out of their respective policy committees by the end of the day are considered “dead” for this year’s session. Exceptions are made for any bill found to be necessary to implement the budget, and it should always be noted that no bill is truly dead until the Legislature adjourns. All that being said, many of the bills introduced this year are no longer in play this session. 

In this legislative update I will tell you about some of the bills that survived this deadline, including some of my bills to help those with hearing disabilities, protect the public from repeat drunk drivers, increase affordable housing, address the nursing shortage, reform police use of force and defend the unborn.

Last week, Senate Republicans also introduced a full two-year budget proposal that protects our most vulnerable without raising taxes. While it is rare for the minority caucus to produce a full budget, it is important for us to prove that a responsible, no-new-taxes budget is possible, given the numerous tax hikes and new tax proposals being put forth by majority Democrats.

Looking ahead, next Monday, Feb. 22, is the deadline for Senate fiscal committees (Transportation; and Ways and Means) to vote on Senate bills with a fiscal impact. Once that happens, the full Senate will be spending a great deal of time voting on bills until March 9. That’s the final date for voting on Senate bills, except those that will be directly referenced in the budget.

Thank you for giving me the privilege to serve as your voice in our state Senate.

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Audio Updates:

Padden on KXLY: We must end repeat DUIs


Click on the image above to listen now.

Senator Mike Padden on 920 News Now with Kris Siebers and Teresa Lukens talking about his DUI legislation and more.

Discussing the session with Seattle’s Jason Rantz

Jason Rantz

Click on the image above to listen now.

Sen. Mike Padden on the Freedom Caucus, COVID emergencies, and the drug decriminalization bill.

In the News:

Interstate compact would help nurses get to work

Seattle Times Editorial Board | Feb. 10, 2021

Seattle Times

A nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle in April 2020. Senate Bill 5247 would make Washington part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows licensed nurses to practice in each of 34 participating states. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, File)

Nurses wishing to practice in Washington usually must wait a month or longer to get a state license, even if they’re already vetted and approved in states with nearly identical rules.

Washington has a shortage of nurses in the best of times. But especially during the ongoing public health emergency, the state cannot afford to have qualified professionals sitting on their hands waiting for paperwork to go through. Even in an emergency, nurses who travel to the state to fill critical care gaps in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities must wait at least a day or two for permission to pitch in and help.

Lawmakers can change that by approving Senate Bill 5247, making Washington part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows licensed nurses to practice in each of 34 participating states.

… The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, would not force nurses into multistate licenses, which critics say are more expensive. But it would give them the option.

Click here to read the full editorial.

Note: Unfortunately, the Senate majority leadership refused to advance this important bill. 

Budget Update:

Senate Republicans unveil no-new-taxes budget to help restart and recover


Senate Republicans have stepped forward with a 2021-23 budget proposal aimed at restarting schools and bringing jobs back, while saving money for lower-income families.

Washington families haven’t seen tax relief from the Legislature since Senate Republicans froze tuition, then led on passage of the nation’s first tuition cut for the 2015-17 biennium. The proposed 2021-23 Senate Republican budget would reduce the tax burden on working families by as much as $1,000 annually, starting with a Working Families Tax Credit of up to $700 per year.

The $55.5 billion plan covers a broad range of public concerns yet balances without more taxes, setting the bar high for upcoming negotiations toward a new state operating budget.

Highlights of the Senate Republican plan include:

  • More than $1 billion aimed at encouraging school districts to get children back into classrooms, of which $200 million will go toward contact tracing, testing and other safety measures;
  • $333 million in additional assistance for small employers;
  • More support for behavioral health than has been proposed by the governor;
  • $200 million to support efforts to expand broadband access;
  • Eliminating the business-and-occupation (B&O) tax on manufacturing;
  • Gradually shifting tax revenue from vehicle sales for use on transportation projects;
  • Full funding for improving forest health to reduce catastrophic wildfires; and
  • Full funding for extending the look-back (from 10 to 15 years) for felony DUI cases.

Review the documents here:

Legislative Update:

Surviving the policy cut off

Padden in committee

Several of the bills I have introduced survived the policy committee cutoff deadline:

  • Senate Bill 5024 would reduce the barriers to condominium construction. The bill passed the Senate 37-12 last month and is now in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
  • Senate Bill 5054 would increase the look-back period for felony DUIs to 15 years, from 10. The bill cleared the Law and Justice Committee on Jan. 28 and was advanced by the Ways and Means Committee yesterday.      
  • Senate Bill 5332 would clarify the equipment requirements for wheeled all-terrain vehicles. This measure cleared the Transportation Committee yesterday.
  • Senate Bill 5009, also known as the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act, would protect freedom of speech by permitting a special motion in court for expedited relief against legal claims over public expression (“strategic lawsuits against public participation, known also as SLAPPs). The bill is currently in the Rules Committee, the final stop before moving to a vote of the full Senate.
  • Senate Bill 5027 would make closed captioning on televisions available in places of public accommodation, to help those with hearing disabilities gain access to vital news and emergency information. The bill passed the Senate 48-1 on Feb. 10, and is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives.
  • Senate Bill 5347 would add electronic voting as an allowable method for a member of a cooperative association. This bill is currently in the Rules Committee and could be brought to the floor for a vote at any time.

Visit the legislative website to see my full list of sponsored legislation. You may also follow every hearing and floor action live on

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.