After a historic 2021 legislative session where legislators passed sweeping reforms to our tax code, climate policies, and police accountability, they took a more cautious approach during this short session.
While we were disappointed that legislators failed to pass a number of important progressive bills this year, overall we saw valuable strides forward on other priorities including transportation, abortion access, community safety, affordable housing, and more.
We want to thank every one of you who took action. Whether you donated, signed in for a committee hearing, or sent your representatives calls to action, we’re grateful for your energy in making Washington state the most equitable and progressive place to live in the country.
We’re also grateful for all our new followers on TikTok and Instagram! You may have noticed us using both channels for our legislative communications this year. You can follow us for the latest updates on Instagram and TikTok.
Here’s our summary of some of the top issues in Olympia this year:
Whether it’s getting to work safely, seeing friends and family, or having healthier neighborhoods, all of us are connected through our state’s transportation systems. We were excited to support the Move Ahead Washington transportation package to achieve all of these goals. It will create safer routes to schools, expand bike and pedestrian safety programs, build new and newly electrified hybrid ferries, fund some ultra-high-speed rail, and provide improvements to bridges and highways. This is Washington’s most progressive state transportation legislation ever and will help achieve our climate goals. In addition, we were happy to see legislators pass SB 5853 to allow the use of vacant land along I-90 in Spokane for affordable housing.
Graphic courtesy of Sen. Marko Liias
Keeping our communities safe from gun violence
Washingtonians across the state demanded action to reduce gun violence in our communities and legislators delivered important progress this session.
With the passage of Senate Bill 5078, requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, the Legislature banned high-capacity magazines in Washington. Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds allow a shooter to fire more shots without pausing to reload; that is why mass shooters used them in all six of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. in the last decade — Las Vegas, Orlando, Newtown, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, and Parkland.
The legislature also passed House Bill 1630, which prohibits the carrying of weapons at local government meetings, school board meetings, and election sites, and House Bill 1705, which restricts the manufacture, sale, and purchase of untraceable “ghost guns.”
One of the biggest needs in Washington state is to fix our upside-down tax code and require the wealthy to pay what they owe our communities in taxes. After passing the historic capital gains tax last year, we threw our support behind a wealth tax. This 1 percent tax on assets like stocks and bonds valued at over $1 billion would affect about 100 ultra-wealthy Washingtonians. More than 450 Fuse members signed in to support this bill in committee as part of a massive 2,500 person show of support. While the bill didn’t pass this year, we’ve helped to lay the groundwork for more progress on this bill and others in the future.
With the federal right to abortion under assault, Washington state health care providers predict a potential 385% increase in abortion care patients, making legal access more important than ever for our state and our region. Thankfully, the passage of House Bill 1851 clarifies existing laws, ensuring that qualified abortion care providers have legal protection no matter what happens at the federal level.
No matter where we came from or where we live now, we all deserve access to a safe and dry place to live. Unfortunately, the legislature’s record on housing was mixed this year. One of our biggest disappointments this session was the lack of progress on House Bills 1782 by Rep. Jessica Bateman to expand middle housing options and 1660 by Rep. Sharon Shewmake to increase flexibility for accessory dwelling units, despite more than 800 messages in support from Fuse members. On the bright side, legislators added more than $850 million for emergency and affordable housing and behavioral health services, including $115 million to build affordable homes and another $240 million for rapid purchases of housing.
Ranked-choice voting was part of a suite of voting rights bills we supported this session. More than 600 Fuse members urged their representatives to make campaigns more inclusive and improve representation with ranked-choice voting. It didn’t pass this year but we will continue the fight for accessible and equitable election reform.
New support for missing Indigenous people
One historic bill on its way to the governor’s desk is Rep. Debra Lekanoff’s House Bill 1725, which will create an alert system to help identify and locate missing Indigenous women and people. Violence against Indigenous women is underreported and often ignored by law enforcement and media.
The last two years have made it clear just how important it is to have progressive majorities leading legislative work in Olympia. From balancing our state’s upside-down tax code with a capital gains tax and the Working Families Tax Credit to supporting a Clean Fuel Standard, improving police accountability, and restoring voting rights, the last two years have been remarkably successful.
Now we’re looking towards a tough campaign season to defend our progressive champions. The midterms will be a challenge for many elected progressives across the country. Here in Washington, our focus will be defending key seats on the state and national level, including Rep. Kim Schrier in the 8th Congressional District, Sen. Emily Randall in the 26th Legislative District in the Bremerton area, and Sen. Mona Das in the 47th Legislative District that includes Kent and Auburn. We’ll also be keeping an eye on the capital gains court challenge, which is likely headed to the Supreme Court and could turn into an initiative as well.
We’re already on the ground organizing in key areas and starting our research for the Progressive Voters Guide. The only question is whether we can build a solid, community-based foundation for our work in the crucial election to come. Unlike our opponents, our support comes from members like you. Will you stand with Fuse and our fight for progress today by making an early donation to our 2022 election campaigns?
No matter how you choose to support us, we’re grateful for all of you who have stood for progress this year. We’re excited to continue this work in the 2023 session, and bring our best organizing strategies to the upcoming campaign season.
Thank you for all that you do,
Jamie and the entire team at Fuse