2023 Session – General Legislative Recap and Look Ahead: Week of March 27, 2023

Posted By: Chester Baldwin Legislative,


Friday, March 24, 2023

Today marks the 75th day of the 2023 Legislative session in Olympia.  Our next cutoff comes on Wednesday, March 29 which is the last day to read in committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) from opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees. 

Earlier this week the revenue forecast for Washington’s projected Near General Fund revenue collections for the 2023–25 state budgets have decreased by about $483 million. The projection represents about a 0.7% drop from the number forecast last November. Total Near General Fund revenues are now projected at $65.7 billion for the next two-year state budget cycle, which begins July 1, 2023.  Steve Lerch, executive director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council explained, 

Although overall revenue collections have been above expectations, lower personal income and residential construction forecasts result in lower revenue in the 2023-25 and 2025-27 biennia.”

Lately the Legislature has been seeing revenue forecasts showing additional funding so this negative forecast will slow some spending as budgets continue to roll out next week.  Earlier this week we saw Senate proposals for a Capital Budget and Operating Budget.  A general overview is listed below. 

We have 30 days left until the session concludes on Sunday, April 23. 


Senate Operating Budget Proposal – Chair Rolfes

The Senate Chair's proposed Operating budget (Proposed Substitute Senate Bill 5187) increases spending by $5.1 billion in General Fund-State, Education Legacy Trust Account, Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, Workforce Education Investment Account, and Fair Start for Kids Account (NGF-O) above the 2021-23 biennial budget adjusted for the 2022 Supplemental.  This proposal would bring NGF-O spending to $69.2 billion ($130.1 billion total funds) in 2023-25. 

Significant spending items:

  • $829 million for compensation adjustment for represented and non-represented state employees,
  • $688 million for rate increases for long-term care and/or developmental disability providers,
  • $457 million for enhancements to the Working Connections Child Care program,
  • $373 million to modify the enrollment cap and excess cost multiplier for special education,
  • $264 million to change the inflationary adjustment applied to educator salaries. 

Significant revenue changes:

  • $54 million - anticipated increase in premium tax associated with hospital safety net.
  • -$8 million = addresses a revenue decline for the Auto Theft Prevention Account.
  • -$4 million = exemption of excise tax for meals within senior living communities.  


Senate Capital Budget Proposal – Senators Mullet and Schoesler

Vice Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee Senator Mark Mullet and Ranking Member Senator Mark Schoesler jointly released a Capital Budget proposal (SB 5200) which authorizes $7.9 billion in total budgeted funds, of which $4.7 billion is debt limit bonds for the 2023-25 biennium.  The remaining amounts are $798 million in federal funds, $325 million in Model Toxic Control Accounts, $319 million in Climate Commitment Accounts, $265 million in alternate financing authorizations, and $1.5 billion in all other funds. 

“This is a strong budget that steps up to the scale of the challenges facing our state and does so in a fiscally responsible way that we can sustain into the future,” said Senator Mullet.  Senator Schoesler had a take on the proposal as well stating, “The Senate’s capital budget addresses needs all throughout Washington, and it provides funding for important projects in a wide variety of areas, from education and public safety to housing and water and more… I’m pleased our capital budget funds many projects that will help our colleges and universities, and I’m especially glad to see money for school seismic safety grants, which is important since our state is in earthquake country.  I’m also pleased there is funding for water supply projects, which will benefit agriculture and other water users.  The Senate’s capital budget takes a statewide approach, as it should.” 

Significant investments:

  • $860 million is provided to address behavioral health needs across the state.
    • $650 million to the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) for construction of a new 350-bed forensic hospital at Western State Hospital
    • $141 million for competitive grants and individual projects that create new community behavioral health capacity. 
  • $625 million is provided for affordable housing projects, including $400 million for grants and loans through the Housing Trust Fund.
    • $67 million for the Housing Finance Commission Land Acquisition Program
    • $50 million for projects designed to increase the supply and affordability of transit-oriented housing.
    • $20 million to connect affordable housing developments to infrastructure. 
  • $547 million is provided to address other human services not mentioned above across the state.
    • $66 million to the Department of Health (DOH) to expand its environmental laboratory sciences wing and remodel the vacated space for a new molecular laboratory.
    • $6.8 million, in addition to funds previously appropriated, to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to install a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the nursing facility at the Washington Veterans’ Home in Port Orchard 
  • $894 million is provided for K-12 education across the state, including $588 million in state matching grants for the School Construction Assistance Program.
    • $100 million for small district and state tribal compact school modernization grants to repair or replace significant building systems in school facilities.
    • $40 million in school seismic safety grants for planning and seismic remediation
    • $33.3 million for distressed schools to address student capacity needs, safety, and inadequate building systems in school and skill centers facilities. 
  • $1.2 billion in total funds is provided for higher education facilities at the four-year institutions and the Community and Technical Colleges
    • $256 million for the University of Washington's major projects, as well as minor works and infrastructure projects
    • $140 million for the Washington State University's major projects, as well as minor works and infrastructure projects $325 million for the regional university's major projects, as well as minor works and infrastructure projects 
  • $400 million from the Public Works Trust Fund is provided for infrastructure projects administered through the Public Works Board 
  • $244 million is provided for clean energy, energy efficiency, and weatherization projects across the state including a new port electrification grant program. 



Week of March 27

Below is the weekly schedule of legislative committee hearings we are tracking for the week of Monday, March 27 to Friday, March 31. 

If anyone is interested in watching any of these hearings, they can do so on TVW at www.tvw.org and select the appropriate committee hearing to view. 

To take action on any of the bills you can do the following: 

  • To Sign up to Submit written testimony,
  • Testify virtually or in-person, or
  • To Provide position to be noted for the legislative record, click here
  • Select either House or Senate (Whether the bills is being heard in a House or Senate Committee)
  • Select the Committee name the bill is scheduled for a hearing.
  • Select the date of the hearing to the corresponding bill.
  • Click on the bill number of interest.
  • Then you select one of the options you would like to take
    • I would like to testify in person during the hearing.
    • I would like to testify remotely.
    • I would like my position noted for the legislative record.
    • I would like to submit written testimony. 

Please let us know if you would like to take Action on any of these bills or update/change our position(s). 



Housing (House) - HHR B and Virtual JLOB - 3/27 @ 1:30pm

  • SSB 5235- Exec Session - Concerning accessory dwelling units. (Support/Medium)
  • ESSB 5466- Exec Session - Promoting transit-oriented development. (Support/High) 

Appropriations (House) - HHR A and Virtual JLOB - 3/27 @ 4:00pm

  • HB 1140- Public Hearing - Making 2023-2025 fiscal biennium operating appropriations. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute). (Neutral/Monitor) 

Ways & Means (Senate) - SHR 4 and Virtual JACB - 3/27 @ 4:00pm

  • SB 5187- Exec Session - Making 2023-2025 fiscal biennium operating appropriations. (Neutral/Monitor) 

Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs (Senate) - SHR 3 and Virtual JACB - 3/28 @ 9:00am

  • ESHB 1245- Exec Session - Increasing housing options through lot splitting. (Support/High)
  • EHB 1337- Exec Session - Expanding housing options by easing barriers to the construction and use of accessory dwelling units. (Support/Medium) 

Law & Justice (Senate) - SHR 4 and Virtual JACB - 3/28 @ 10:30am

  • EHB 1636- Exec Session - Concerning foreclosure protections for homeowners in common interest communities. (Position Needed) 

Environment, Energy & Technology (Senate) - SHR 1 and Virtual J.A. Cherberg - 3/28 @ 1:30pm

  • 2SHB 1390- Exec Session - Concerning district energy systems. (Oppose/High)
  • ESHB 1589- Exec Session - Supporting Washington's clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future. (Oppose/High) 

Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry (House) - HHR D and Virtual JLOB - 3/28 @ 4:00pm

  • ESB 5352- Exec Session - Concerning vehicular pursuits. (Support/High) 

Housing (House) - HHR B and Virtual JLOB - 3/28 @ 4:00pm

  • SSB 5235- Exec Session - Concerning accessory dwelling units. (Support/Medium)
  • ESSB 5466- Exec Session - Promoting transit-oriented development. (Support/High)
  • SSB 5491- Exec Session - Allowing for residential buildings of a certain height to be served by a single exit under certain conditions. 

Ways & Means (Senate) - SHR 4 and Virtual JACB - 3/28 @ 4:00pm

  • SHB 1250- Public Hearing - Modifying the low-income home rehabilitation program. (Remote Testimony Available). (Support/Monitor)
  • ESHB 1282- Public Hearing - Requiring environmental and labor reporting for public building construction and renovation material. (Remote Testimony Available). (Concerns/Medium)

Appropriations (House) - HHR A and Virtual JLOB - 3/29 @ 4:00pm

  • HB 1140- Exec Session - Making 2023-2025 fiscal biennium operating appropriations. (Neutral/Monitor)

Capital Budget (House) - HHR B and Virtual JLOB - 3/31 @ 8:00am

  • ESSB 5301- Exec Session - Concerning housing programs administered by the department of commerce. (Support/Monitor)