Here we go again… Legislature begins (mostly) remote 2022 session

current banner

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

Report from Olympia |  January 18, 2022

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We’ve completed the first week of the 2022 legislative session. It’s already been an eventful start, with many challenges and achievements. As the Omicron variant continues to spread, the majority party has once again mandated a remote session, with highly restricted attendance by lawmakers and members of the public. While it is wise to take reasonable precautions, I do not believe that shutting the people and their elected representatives out of the people’s house is necessary.

We’ve been under the governor’s state of emergency for nearly 700 days now, with no apparent end in sight. Many of my colleagues and I support the BALANCE Act, which requires all executive emergency orders – not just some, as is now the case – to expire within 30 days unless they are reauthorized by the Legislature. The bill is aimed at restoring the proper constitutional balance of power between the branches of government.

The continued restrictions on public access only make it more challenging to be informed about what is going on in Olympia and make sure your voice is heard. Our office is here to help on both fronts.

Here are some resources to help you better navigate this 60-day “short” session.

  • My legislative website | Here you will find my news releases and clips, newsletters, bills, contact information, biography, 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 daily recap of the top online news stories. Click the link to subscribe.
  • TVW | You can watch live broadcasts of floor and committee action online.
  • Legislature's website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature are here.
  • State agencies | This website is where you can find all the state agencies, boards, and commissions.
  • Washington Votes | The Washington Policy Center’s vote tracking web site.

For Bill Tracking

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

If you have questions about how to participate in state government this year or thoughts to share on anything in this e-newsletter, please give me a call, send me an e-mail or stop by our district office.

Thank you, as always, for the honor of serving as your state senator!

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Video Update:

Republicans roll out ‘Safe Washington’ public safety agenda

TVW Video

Click here or on the image above to watch House and Senate Republicans discuss their plan to increase public safety, put victims first and correct the flawed anti-police policies adopted by the majority in 2021.

Safe Washington: A plan for increasing public safety, reducing crime, and putting victims first

In 2021 the majority party dropped the ball badly on public safety. It removed critical tools for law enforcement, reduced punishments for criminals, missed opportunities to protect the public from repeat DUI offenders, and virtually surrendered on the war on drugs. The bad policies were put in place just as our state saw violent crime reach a 25-year high. Additionally, aggravated assaults, murder, and rape have all increased.

This anti-law enforcement agenda has made Washington dangerous. Even after receiving a massive public pushback on these bad ideas, the majority still doesn’t seem to understand. This session has even brought a Democrat bill to reduce the penalties for drive-by shootings.

Some in Olympia still do understand the impact of these bad social experiments on the lives of everyday Washingtonians. That’s why my colleagues and I have introduced the Safe Washington package of bills to reverse these dangerous policies, institute new measures to increase public safety and give law enforcement the support they need to protect our communities.

To learn more about the Safe Washington package, click here.

In the News:

Washington needs competitive energy market

By Sen. Mike Padden | Lynden Tribune


Washington motorists have choices when it comes to fueling their vehicles, thanks to the free market. But the benefits of competition, beginning with cost and quality, aren’t consistently available throughout our state’s energy sector.

Reliable and affordable home energy continues to be a challenge for Washington, including locally.

…Amazingly, the Spokane City Council recently suggested placing bans on the ability for citizens to utilize energy sources such as natural gas.

They are not alone; similar ideas are being considered across the state. Instead of taking options off the table, especially with winter in full effect, why not support an “all of the above” approach?

The path toward a more efficient energy grid is undoubtedly going to take time, but in the short-term, we must continue to take advantage of all energy generating resources if we want to maintain reliability and affordability.

Click here to read my full op-ed in the Lynden Tribune.

Legislative slate for 2022 is strong on addressing public-safety needs

After months of working with policy stakeholders and citizens like you, I have introduced a slate of legislation aimed at offering real solutions to the problems facing our state. I encourage you to follow these measures this session as they move through the legislative process. This year’s focus is to fix what the majority party did last year to cripple our criminal-justice system. My goal is to enact common-sense policies that work for all of Washington.

Here are just a few of the measures I will be working to advance this year:

  • 5054 Concerning impaired driving.
  • 5234 Repealing the long-term services and supports trust program and the premium assessment on wages.
  • 5521 Concerning good faith exceptions to the exclusionary evidence rule.
  • 5522 Increasing the penalty for assaulting a law enforcement officer.
  • 5523 Concerning possession of controlled substances.
  • 5569 Improving public safety.
  • 5711 Concerning repealing an unconstitutional ban on contracting with private prisons in the state of Washington pursuant to the 9th circuit ruling in The Geo Group v. Newsom.
  • 5733 Concerning civil asset forfeiture.
  • 5779 Concerning oversight of bail funds.
  • 5780 Altering eligibility for the graduated reentry program.
  • 5781 Concerning organized retail theft.
  • 5839 Creating the crime of interfering with a firefighter or emergency medical services provider.

You can find all my bills at the Washington Legislature website.

Bill impacting city tax authority on county water and sewer facilities introduced

Measure could save homeowners nearly $150/year


Click on the image above to watch KREM-TV coverage on this story.

On Wednesday, the Senate Housing & Local Government Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 5621, a measure I sponsored to prevent cities from imposing any tax or excise on the revenues of county-owned sewage and water facilities.

The bill is an attempt to address and ongoing dispute between the City of Spokane and Spokane County. Back in March, the city attempted to enforce a 20% tax on the Spokane County Regional Water Reclamation Facility and have the funds to go directly to the city’s general fund. The tax, if collected, is projected to increase sewer bills by approximately $150 per year for each impacted homeowner.

County officials protested that they would have never constructed the facility within city limits had they know they would be subject to the tax.

SB 5621 is a compromise measure that would prevent cities from imposing new taxes on county sewage facilities but would allow cities to impose fees on counties to offset direct costs related to the sewage facility and water facility if they are reasonably necessary and use of the revenues is limited to mitigation efforts.

Click here to read a Spokesman-Review article on the hearing.

You can also watch the full hearing on TVW by clicking here.  

In the News:

State lawmakers will tackle some big issues

By Joe O’Sullivan, Seattle Times | Wenatchee World | Jan. 10, 2022

Sen. Padden

…This past summer, as a key new law governing when officers can use physical force took effect, many law enforcement agencies stopped responding to behavioral health calls, saying the new law didn't allow them to respond. Recent state data has shown at least 101 instances where officers declined to respond or transport a person who had been involuntarily committed.

Many in the GOP have criticized the changes, claiming they increased crime and made the state more dangerous. Republican lawmakers have geared up their own response, sponsoring dozens of bills this year that would roll back some of the policing reforms, reimpose felony penalties for drug possession and make a slew of changes to the state prisons system.

"During the last legislative session, the majority party dropped the ball on public safety," said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley and ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

"They systemically removed some critical tools for law enforcement, reduced punishment for criminals ...and flat out surrendered on the war on drugs, by in effect decriminalizing felony hard-drug possession," he added.

Click here to read the full article.

Meet Team Padden


Jacob Clark, Legislative Assistant

Jacob is from Wilbur, in neighboring Lincoln County, and has been a great addition to the team as my legislative assistant. Before working for my office, he interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and for our state Senate here in Olympia. His love of eastern Washington and politics, and his dedicated work ethic, will serve the 4th District well during what is expected to be a fast-paced short session.

Marvel Travis, Session Aide

Marvel was born and raised in the Spokane Valley and, after traveling to many places around the country and throughout the world, she says that she has come to appreciate eastern Washington all the more, calling it “a special place.”  We are fortunate to have Marvel, who came out of retirement to work with our team in Olympia, with the goal of helping to preserve our way of life here for generations to come.


Annalise Hemmingway, Intern

Annalise also was born and raised in Spokane Valley, and is a senior at Eastern Washington University. She began to pursue her goal of working with state government when she was a high-school page for us back in 2017! We were so impressed with Annalise that we knew she was the right person to bring back for an internship. She is a tremendous addition to our team and is looking forward to working with us to serve the people of the 4th Legislative District.

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.