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2022 Legislative WRAP UP

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Sine Die 2022

At 11:35 pm on Thursday, March 10, the 67th biennium of the Washington State Legislature came to a close. This session began in the darkness of the Omicron surge and ended in optimism 25 minutes before the expiration of Washington’s indoor mask mandate. And yet, this session bore many of the same COVID-19 restrictions as last session, most notably the closure of offices to constituents and lobbyists wishing to meet with members and staff in person.

Majority Democrats came to Olympia this year with two high-profile priorities at the top of their list, fixes to the long-term care program and to police reforms passed last session. Both topics were addressed in short order. Additionally, for the second year in a row, leadership asked members to introduce no more than 7 new bills and chairs to limit the number of bills passed out of committee to ease the burden of a mostly virtual session. Democratic Leadership also requested members limit the focus of their bills to “Serve Washingtonians Better, Strengthen Economic Well-Being, Advance Racial Equality and Justice, and Address the Climate Crisis” In the 2019/20 biennium, legislators introduced 2408 bills and passed 868. In the 2021/22 biennium, legislators introduced 1559 bills and passed 307 bills.

The narrowed policy focus again paid off, with Majority Democrats checking off many of the items on their to-do list. For the most part, the bills passed in the second year of the biennium, the short session, are less bold than the major laws passed in the first year, the long session. The second year is also a major election year with the entire House and half the Senate appearing on the ballot. What follows are some of the more notable bills that will become law in 2022.

Agriculture & Natural Resources

1626 (Chapman, D-24) - Provides authority for the Fish and Wildlife Commission to issue electronic licensing documents including licenses, permits, tags, stamps and catch record cards.

1649 (Shewmake, D-42) - Establishes that the Fish and Wildlife Commission may appoint up to two additional members who meet certain criteria to the Advisory Committee on Hunters and Fishers with Disabilities. Changes the content and frequency of the report the Commission must submit to the Legislature about the Advisory Committee.

5860 (Warnick, R-13) - Reestablishes the prior process for protecting unused groundwater rights in the Odessa aquifer from relinquishment.

2051 (Rule, D-42) - Requires the Conservation Commission to develop a short-term disaster recovery financial assistance program for farmers and ranchers

5504 (Warnick, R-13) - Requires the Parks and Recreation Commission to designate up to 12 days per year where access to recreation sites or lands is free.

5624 (Warnick, R-13) - Extends livestock inspection fees that expire July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024. Extends changes to the Livestock Identification Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) that expire July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024. Extends the requirement that the Washington State Department of Agriculture report to the Legislature and the Advisory Committee on the Livestock Identification Program to July 1, 2024.

5972 (Warnick, R-13) - Extends the expiration date for Public Records Act exemptions for certain personal identifying information of persons involved in preventative measures involving wolf interactions, as well as persons involved in reports of and responses to wolf depredations, from June 30, 2022, to June 30, 2027.

5619 (Lovelett, D-40) - Requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish a Native Kelp Forest and Eelgrass Meadow Health and Conservation Plan (plan) that endeavors to conserve and restore at least 10,000 acres of kelp forests and eelgrass meadows by 2040. Requires DNR to develop a framework to identify and prioritize native kelp forest and eelgrass meadow areas in greatest need of conservation or restoration. Requires DNR to map areas of native and nonnative kelp forests and eelgrass meadows, together with areas in which there are both native and nonnative kelp forests and eelgrass meadows throughout Puget Sound and along the coastline and submit the map to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) and the Legislature by December 1, 2023. Requires DNR to submit the plan to the Office of Financial Management and the Legislature by December 1, 2023, and establishes other reporting deadlines.

5961 (Sefzik, R-42) - Directs state agencies and local governments to consider using biochar when planning government-funded projects. Adds a pilot project to evaluate the feasibility of sourcing forest products from lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources for the production of biochar.

1700 (Paul, D-10) - Requires 25 percent of the Watercraft Excise Tax collected each fiscal year to be deposited in the Derelict Vessel Removal Account.

1430 (Kloba, D-1) - Changes, from 55 years to 99 years, the maximum length of a lease of land managed by the Department of Natural Resources, where the purpose of the lease is for commercial, industrial, business, or recreational purposes. Requires all commercial, industrial, or business leases extending beyond 55 years to provide for periodic rental reevaluation and adjustment, except leases with rentals based on a percentage of income.

1641 (Hoff, R-18) - Reinstates the business and occupation tax exemption for custom farming. Reinstates the public utilities tax exemption for the hauling of farm products.

Business & Labor

1732 (Sullivan, D-47) - Delays the start date for the premium assessments under the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program (LTSS Trust Program) from January 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023. Delays the date benefits become available under the LTSS Trust Program from January 1, 2025 to July 1, 2026. Allows individuals born before January 1, 1968, who do not meet the LTSS Trust Program's vesting requirements, to receive partial benefits based on the number of years of premium payments. Requires employers to refund employees any LTSS Trust premiums collected before July 1, 2023.

1733 (Paul, D-10) - Establishes exemptions from the payment of premiums under the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program for certain veterans, spouses and registered domestic partners of military service members, nonimmigrant temporary workers, and employees who work in Washington and maintain a primary residence outside of Washington.

1124 (Ryu, D-32) - Modifies certain powers and authorities of state-chartered credit unions. Authorizes credit unions to invest in the equity interest of corporations that are engaged in or planning activity that is incidental or complementary to the credit union's operations. Allows credit unions to acquire real property without occupying the property within a designated period of time.