BY SANJAY WALVEKAR
The 60-day 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 10 and adjourned Sine Die on March 10. Legislators passed a $17 billion transportation package11 www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/highways-transit-bikes-and-more-whats-in-the-new-17b-wa-transportation-package/. providing funding for new ferries, roadway maintenance, and public transportation improvements22 http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2022/ht2022Supp.asp. and a $64.1 billion supplemental operating budget33 www.theolympian.com/news/politics-government/article259258785.html. that funds raises for state workers, rental assistance, and further support of the state’s mental health system.44 http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2022/ho2022Supp.asp.
Several significant policy measures passed this year. The Legislature delayed the state’s long-term care benefit program by 18 months (Substitute House Bill 1732) and expanded voluntary exemptions to the program (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1733). A number of bills related to policing and public safety passed this session, including legislation expanding situations when police can use reasonable force (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2037), allowing police to use .50 caliber less-than-lethal rounds (House Bill 1719), clarifying that police can use reasonable force to take someone in crisis into custody (Substitute House Bill 1735), and addressing catalytic converter theft (Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1815).
Legislation around firearms was also a priority for Democrats in the majority. Lawmakers passed bills banning the manufacture, sale, or distribution of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5078), and barring openly carried weapons at school board and local government meetings and concealed weapons at ballot counting facilities (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1630).
Below are some of the WSBA Legislative Affairs team’s highlights from the session.
Bar-Request Bill Passes Legislature
One of the WSBA’s main priorities during each legislative session is to support Bar-request legislative proposals initiated by WSBA Sections and approved by the Board of Governors. This year’s request legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 5489, passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. Originating from the Corporate Act Revision Committee and the Partnership and LLC Law Committee of the Business Law Section, SB 5489 aims to modernize and clarify portions of Washington’s Business Corporations Act, Uniform Limited Partnership Act, and Limited Liability Companies Act.
WSBA Sections Weigh In
In addition to Bar-request legislation, the WSBA Legislative Affairs team monitors and takes appropriate action on legislative proposals significant to the practice of law and administration of justice.
The WSBA Legislative Affairs team was busy this year, referring and tracking nearly 300 bills for WSBA Sections through the end of session. Key bills involving WSBA Section action and collaboration include:
- Substitute Senate Bill 5548: Concerning the Uniform Unregulated Child Custody Transfer Act. This legislation prohibits a parent or guardian of a child, as well as an individual with whom a child has been placed for adoption, from transferring custody of a child to someone beyond family members and other specified categories of individuals. The bill was supported by the Family Law Section and passed the Legislature this session.
- Senate Bill 5788: Concerning guardianships of minors. This bill makes several changes to provisions of law related to a minor guardianship, including changes to the definition of “guardianship ad litem” and establishing concurrent jurisdiction between a juvenile court and a probate court over minor guardianship proceedings. The bill was supported by the Family Law Section and passed the Legislature this session.
- Substitute House Bill 1901: Updating laws concerning civil protection orders. This bill is a follow up to last year’s E2SHB 1320, which established a new chapter of law to govern all types of protection orders. This year’s legislation revises provisions governing court jurisdiction over civil protection order proceedings and includes “coercive control” within the definition of domestic violence (and defines the term), among other changes. The bill was supported by the Family Law Section and passed the Legislature this session.
- Substitute House Bill 1747: Supporting relative placements in child welfare proceedings. This bill makes several changes to dependency court proceedings and guardianships, including prohibiting a child who is placed with a relative or other suitable person from being moved unless, under certain criteria, the court finds that a change in circumstances necessitates a change in placement. This bill was supported by the Family Law Section and passed the Legislature this session.
- Substitute House Bill 2050: Repealing requirements for parent payment of the cost of their child’s support, treatment, and confinement. This bill eliminates the requirement for parents or other legally obligated persons to pay a portion of the cost of their child’s support, treatment, and confinement while that child is confined or detained. The bill was supported by the Family Law Section and passed the Legislature this session.
- Senate Bill 5629: Concerning control of the disposition of remains. This bill requires the relinquishment of the right of control for the disposition of human remains if any person has certain convictions or had certain orders issued against the person that are related to the decedent. This legislation was supported by the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section. The bill passed the Senate but did not advance in the House this session.
Issues to Watch Next Year
For bills that did not achieve final passage this year, legislators have already expressed an interest in studying issues for potential reintroduction in 2023. A few bills and issues to watch include:
- Second Substitute House Bill 1850 and Senate Bill 5813: Concerning consumer data privacy rights and protections. These bills were monitored by the Intellectual Property Section.
- Substitute Senate Bill 5947: Concerning property exempt from execution. This bill was monitored by the Creditor Debtor Rights Section.
- Substitute Senate Bill 5920: Concerning parenting plans. This legislation was monitored by the Low Bono Section and opposed by the Family Law Section.
- Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5597: Concerning the Washington Voting Rights Act. This bill was monitored by the Civil Rights Law Section.
- Substitute House Bill 1782 and Substitute Senate Bill 5670: Concerning multifamily housing in single-family zoned neighborhoods.
- Senate Bill 5909 and House Bill 1772: Concerning changes to Washington’s emergency powers statute.
- House Bill 1507: Concerning the authority of the attorney general to investigate and prosecute cases involving the use of deadly force by police officers.
The next legislative session will begin in January 2023 and is scheduled for 105 days, marking the first half of the 2023-2024 biennium. During the interim and the upcoming session, the WSBA will continue to monitor and take action on legislation significant to the practice of law and administration of justice.