2022 Session Starts under Virtual Protocols
Prepared by Marie Sullivan, WSPTA Legislative Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Get your computers out, turn your light filters on, and update your virtual platform subscriptions. For the second year in a row, the Legislature will begin a formal regular session using protocols that allow only a few legislators to be on the House and Senate floor at a time and 100 percent virtual committee hearings and caucus meetings.
With the omicron variant spreading across the state, last week House and Senate Democrats adopted updated rules for the conduct of business. The goal, shared by legislative leadership, is to reassess frequently and adjust the limits when possible.
When the gavel falls at noon Monday, January 10, to start the 60-day session, here is a summary of the protocols:
- All committee meetings will be virtual. (This will not change.)
- The public is not allowed in the chamber corridors, offices, or galleries.
- In the Senate, floor action will be limited to 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans on the floor daily.
- In the House, floor action will be limited to 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans on the floor daily.
- Regarding COVID testing, legislators and staff will be required to test multiple times per week, and legislators who plan to be on the floor will have to test daily.
What to expect in 2022
This is the second year of the biennium, which means that the session is shorter, compressing the schedule significantly. (All bills that weren’t enacted are eligible for action again this year, and more than 600 bills have been pre-filed and were introduced on Day 1!) Keep in mind that only about 10 percent of bills introduced make it across the finish line. We all will be breathing a huge sigh of relief at the first deadline for bills to pass out of policy committees on February 3, and from fiscal committees by February 7.
Keep up with the bills and committee hearings related to WSPTA member-generated legislative priorities and long-term positions by utilizing the WSPTA Bill Status Report.
Additional ways to stay connected:
- Each week a new newsletter, “Focus on Advocacy,” will be sent each Monday to subscribers to keep you informed on what is happening during the legislative session and how it aligns with WSPTA priorities. To subscribe simply click on the “Update your Profile” link at the bottom of any newsletter to select this newsletter or contact email@example.com.
- Subscribe to the Action Network to participate in timely action alerts through the session. As a bonus, subscribers to the Action Network receive the new “Focus on Advocacy” newsletter.
- Review the Focus on Advocacy webpage for great resources and information.
- Advocacy questions can be directed to WSPTA Advocacy Director Lizzy Sebring.