Each year in Olympia, lawmakers come together to make decisions, big and small, from what ideas should be put into law to how current laws should be updated to how to fund new and existing mandates. The 2024 session of the Washington State Legislature is a short one — running for just 60 days and ending on March 8. Even so, there are plenty of bills floating in the House of Representatives and Senate of great impact on kids, parents, and families. On this page, we’ll do our best to keep you updated on these issues and where legislation sits in the process. We will update information on bills on Monday mornings through March 8.
For a full review of how the legislative process works, check out the Washington State Legislature’s “Overview of the Legislative Process.” It’s easy to read and will bring up memories of high school social studies.
We encourage you to let your lawmakers know how you feel about any proposed laws. Here’s how:
- Sign up to testify or to let lawmakers know you are PRO or CON on a bill, go to the Washington State Legislature Bill Information webpage, find the bill you are interested in, and sign up.
- Contact your lawmaker about any bill and ask how you can make your voice heard:
- Contact the Children’s Alliance, a statewide child advocacy organization
Bill still in play in Olympia
Putting a stop to the practice of isolating students and more heavily restricting them. HB 1479 aims to ban using isolation, mechanical restraints like plastic ties and handcuffs, chemical restraints like pepper spray, and more on children in schools. Click here to read about E2SHB 1479.
Update 02/19/2024: Passed out of the House, Now being considered by the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
Adding clergy to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse in Washington. SB 6298 would strike a compromise to keep the exemption for confessions but create a “duty to warn” authorities if clergy reasonably believed a child is at imminent risk of abuse or neglect, even if that belief was from a confession. Click here to learn more about SB 6298. Update 02/19/2024: SB 6298 was passed by the Senate. It was passed out of the House Human Services, Youth, & Early Learning last week and is scheduled for a public hearing in that committee on Feb. 20 at 1:30 p.m.
Addressing inequity in Special Ed due process hearings. What happens when a parent takes issue with a decision that a public school or district has made about their child’s eligibility or plan for Special Education services? It’s called a due process hearing, and, currently, the burden of proof falls on parents to convince a judge they are right. This bill would move the burden of proof to schools, a move that would make it easier for parents to be heard, especially low-income or BIPOC parents. Click here to learn more about SB 5883. Update 02/19/2024: Approved by Senate. Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Education on February 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Ensuring early support for babies born early or with a disability from age 0 to 2. When you have a child with a disability or one born prematurely, having access to services that help advance health development is crucial not only to a child’s health, welfare, and future success but to the state as well. This bill would expand access to the state’s Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program, which provides families with the early services they need and saves the state millions down the road by preventing, in many cases, the need for Special Education services. Click here to learn more about HB 1916. Update 02/19/2024: Passed by House. Now in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
Banning open-carry firearms from public locations frequented by children. Locations would include zoos, aquariums, public buildings, parks, and other locations. Click here to learn more about SB 5444. Update 02/12/2024: Passed by the Senate. Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on February 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Requiring the reporting of a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours. Anyone who does not report a loss or theft would face a civil charge and a fine. Click here to learn more about HB 1903. Update 02/19/2024: Passed House: Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on February 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Addressing the issue of firearms parts being recycled by clearly defining what is meant by “destroy” when it comes to gun relinquishment. The bill is mindful of the fact that ghost guns are illegal guns that are most often used in crimes. Click here to learn more about HB 2021. Update 02/19/2024: Passed House. Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on February 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Creating a “code of conduct” for licensed firearms dealers. Includes additional requirements in areas including record keeping, background checks for employees, security of the business site, and storage of inventory, as well as a requirement for $1 million in liability insurance. Click here to learn more about HB 2118. Update 02/19/2024: Passed House. Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on February 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Lawmakers are considering a bill to get opioid-antidote Narcan into WA high schools.According to Crosscut.com, SB 5804 “would put the life-saving opioid reversal medication naloxone in all Washington K-12 public schools, charter schools, and state-tribal education compact schools. The medication is currently available only in high schools in districts with 2,000 or more students.” Click here to learn more about HB 5804. Update 02/12/2024: Passed Senate. Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Education at 1:30 p.m. February 19.
Ending child marriage in Washington. This measure would raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 and remove exceptions. Click here to learn more about HB 1455. Update 02/12/2024: Passed by House. Passed to Senate Rules Committee for second reading.
“Dead” (Bills no longer in play)
Should WA ban student cellphones in public classrooms? It’s a question teachers, parents, schools administrators and others have been asking for nearly a decade. This bill would launch a pilot program in volunteer school districts and create a study to examine the potential impact of banning cellphone use during classroom hours for all Washington students, with some exceptions. Click here to learn more about HB 2018. Status: Dead for this session. Bill did not make it out of its house of origin.
Dads need to change diapers too! You take the kids out for an outing but when it comes time to change the baby, mom is stuck with the job. There are no diaper-changing stations in most men’s public restrooms. This bill would create stinky diaper equity, requiring a changing table in at least one restroom accessible to men in all places where public restrooms are required. Click here to learn about HB 2052. Status: Dead for this session. Bill did not make it out of its house of origin.
SB 5964 / HB 2058
Making school meals free for all students. These two bills would make school meals — breakfast and lunch — available at no cost to all students in Washington public schools. Status: Dead for this session. Neither bill made it out of its house of origin
Required firearm owners to maintain residential insurance policies covering accidental or unintentional discharge, thus providing financial safeguards to potential victims. Click here to learn more about SB 5963. Status: Dead for this session. Bill did not make it out of its house of origin.
Articles about issues we are following
Lawmakers are considering a bill to get opioid-antidote Narcan into WA high schoolsUPDATE 02/05/2024: Senate Bill 5804 has passed WA Senate and is headed to the House for consideration