Week 3 will be a busy one in the Senate. COVID-19 recovery will again take centerstage as Dept. of Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah will brief the Health & Long Term Care Committee on the state’s COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution efforts. The committee will also hear several bills to combat and better prepare for future public health emergencies. Senate committees will also consider measures to address gun violence, poverty, students impacted by the pandemic, criminal justice reform, plastic pollution and senators will return to the floor on Wednesday.

Here’s a helpful article from Crosscut on all the ways people can weigh in on the mostly remote 2021 session.


Senator Jesse Salomon speaks into a microphone during a committee hearing
Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline) sponsor of Senate Bill 5254.

Monday, Jan. 25
9:30 a.m., Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs

The Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 5254, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon, which requires employers to shoulder the cost of PPE for their employees during a public health emergency. Watch live on TVW.


Senator Marko Liias speaks into a microphone on the senate floor
Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) sponsor of Senate Bill 5078.

Monday, Jan. 25
9:30 a.m., Law & Justice

The Law & Justice Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5078, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, which will prohibit high capacity magazines with the capability of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition for most civilian uses. Watch live on TVW.


Senators Annette Cleveland and Patty Kuderer talk on the senate floor.
Chair of the Health & Long Term Care Committee Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) talks with Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue).

Monday, Jan. 25
1:30 p.m., Health & Long Term Care

Representatives from the Dept. of Health, including DOH Secretary Dr. Umair Shah, will update the committee on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The committee will also hear public comment on several bills to help respond to this pandemic and prevent future outbreaks:

SB 5178: Establishes automatic waivers of certain state health care laws to speed up health system response times during a governor-declared emergency.

SB 5169: Concerning provider reimbursement for personal protective equipment during the state of emergency related to COVID-19.

SB 5302: Establishes a personal protective equipment vendor database.

SB 5294: Creates statewide epidemic preparedness and response guidelines for long-term care facilities.

Watch live on TVW.


Sen. Lisa Wellman applauds and smiles on the senate floor.
Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) Chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

Monday, Jan. 25
1:30 p.m., Early Learning & K-12 Education

With disinformation running rampant on social media and elsewhere, the Early Learning & K-12 Committee will take public testimony on Senate Bill 5242, Sen. Marko Liias’ bill to establish a grant program to integrate media literacy into the curriculum of Washington’s schools. The committee will also hear Sen. Lisa Wellman’s SB 5252, which will create and mandate training related to consultation between Washington’s tribes and public schools to improve outcomes for tribal students. Watch live on TVW.


Senatos Christine Rolfes and Marko Liias answer press questions
Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Kitsap County) Chair of the Ways & Means Committee and Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood).

Monday, Jan. 25
2:15 p.m.

Leadership from the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses will take questions from the media and offer additional insights on early action bills including Senate Bill 5344, sponsored by Sen. Christine Rolfes, which invests federal funds in public health, schools, childcare, small businesses, and other areas most impacted by the pandemic. Watch live on TVW.


Senator Mona Das speaks into a microphone during an event on the capital campus in Olympia.
Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent) sponsor of Senate Bill 5378.

Tuesday, Jan. 26
10:30 a.m., Environment, Energy & Technology

The public will weigh in on Senate Bill 5022, a measure sponsored by Sen. Mona Das to reduce plastic waste by requiring increased levels of recycled content and also further reduction of plastics in packaging and single-use items. Watch live on TVW.


Men with long guns at a protest at the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
Armed men attend a protest in Olympia.

Tuesday, Jan. 26
10:30 a.m., Law & Justice Committee

Should the open carry of firearms be allowed on the Capitol Campus and at public demonstrations? The public will weigh in on Senate Bill 5038, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer, which would prohibit it. Watch live on TVW.


Senators Joe Nguyen and Manka Dhingra talk on the senate floor.
Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) and Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) sponsors of Senate Bills 5214 and 5241, respectively.

Tuesday, Jan. 26
1:30 p.m., Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation

Ten years ago, the answer to the budget crisis caused by the Great Recession was to cut services to make ends meet, but those decisions hurt the people most impacted by the economic crash. The Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee will hold a public hearing on two anti-poverty bills aimed at undoing that damage.

Senate Bill 5214, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen, increases access to TANF benefits and supports, reduces racial disproportionality in the system and repeals several policies that were instituted as cost savings measures following the 2010 recession.

SB 5241, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, will foster economic inclusion in our state’s recovery. The bill, which is a result of the Governor’s Anti-Poverty Workgroup, creates a local economic inclusion grant program that will coordinate resources and public benefits programs to increase access.

Watch live on TVW.


The Senate floor at the Washington State Capital in Olympia, WA
The Senate will begin four days of floor action Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
1:30 p.m.

The Senate will take the floor Wednesday to consider bills to help Washingtonians bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch live on TVW.


Justice Mary Yu gives the oath of office to redistricting commissioner Brady Walkinshaw during a zoom meeting
Redistricting Commissioner Brady Walkinshaw is sworn in by Justice Mary Yu.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
4 p.m.

The 2021 Redistricting Commission will hold its first meeting to begin the process of redrawing Washington’s legislative and congressional maps. Watch live on TVW.


Senator Sam Hunt holds a microphone and speaks on the senate floor
Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia) sponsor of Senate Bill 5265.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
10:30 a.m., Early Learning & K-12 Education

The Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee will hear public testimony on Senate Bill 5265. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt, will create a “bridge year” for students in the 2021 and 2022 graduating classes impacted by COVID-19 school closures. It would allow students to opt for a 5th year where they can retake courses or address learning loss. Watch live on TVW.


Senator Manka Dhingra holds a microphone and speaks on the senate floor
Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) sponsor of SB 5036.

Thursday, Jan. 28
10:30 a.m., Law & Justice

Senate Bill 5036, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, will expand the state’s Clemency and Pardon Board from five to 10 members. These additions will expedite the process for the governor to consider petitions to commute sentences, pardon offenders and, in some instances, restore civil rights. Watch live on TVW.


Senator Steve Hobbs holds a microphone and speaks on the senate floor
Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) Chair of the Transportation Committee.

Thursday, Jan. 28
4 p.m., Transportation Committee

The Transportation Committee will hold a work session on Forward Washington, the transportation infrastructure investment plan championed by Sen. Steve Hobbs. Watch live on TVW.