by Matt Landers, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
| Jan 18, 2022
The 2022 Legislative Session is just 60 days, but there is a lot on the schedule. Some of the major topic areas and specific bills that GSBA's Policy Council is monitoring are as follows:
GSBA has already endorsed bills that would mandate insurance coverage of infertility treatments, including for LGBTQ+ families (HB 1730), mandating Medicaid coverage for all HIV medications approved by the federal FDA (SB 5551), and protecting sensitive information of incarcerated transgender and gender-diverse people from public disclosure (HB 1956). There is also an effort to give courts the authority to waives fees for name changes (HB 1961). In the budget, there are requests for funding of LGBTQ+ senior housing and a study on the decriminalization of sex work. We are keeping an eye on additional anti-transgender bills, though we do not expect them to proceed very far this year due to the pro-LGBTQ+ majority in current leadership.
Small Business Issues
Economic support for struggling small businesses remains at the forefront of our advocacy priorities this year. We are working to ensure that federal assistance dollars are allocated to the communities that need them the most, and that those dollars actually reach their intended targets. Additionally we are monitoring the delay of the Long Term Care Act and its mandatory employer deductions and implementation (HB 1732), and programs to develop broadband networks.
As with the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund, there is a proposal in the Legislature to create bridge grants for students receiving the Washington College Grant scholarships to help with expenses beyond tuition (HB 1659), as well as efforts to increase outreach around the availability of the Washington College Grant program (HB 1835). There are additional efforts to clarify and strengthen the Fair Start for Kids bill that we endorsed last year, including SB 5553's efforts to strengthen the definition of "quality child care." GSBA is additionally looking into efforts to support apprenticeships and career/college pathways.
Policing & Safety Issues
Much of the work accomplished last year was just the starting point. There are a few bills introduced last year which continue to be considered by the Legislature, including independent prosecutions of police criminal conduct (HB 1507) and rules around the hiring and certification of police officers (SB 5089). Additionally, there are important gun control measures such as a ban on high-capacity magazines (SB 5078), prohibiting guns at local government meetings and elections offices (HB 1630 and HB 1618)
GSBA's Policy Council meets weekly to discuss potential positions on legislation. Other areas that we are investigating include voting rights, housing affordability, and transportation.
GSBA's 2022 legislative agenda and bill tracker are always available on our Advocacy page. You can learn more about any legislation by searching by bill number here.
You may be interested in some of the work of our partner organizations:
- Business for America (voting rights)
- Legal Voice (gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights)
- Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (racial equity)
- Ventures (equity in entrepreneurship)
- Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (gun control)
- Washington LGBTQ Commission (LGBTQ+ issues)
- Washington STEM (equity in education)