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Advocacy: Your Voice Was Heard in Olympia

Published on 5/12/2023

The state legislative session ended April 23rd and your actions made a difference. Please check out the 2023 Session Wrap-Up prepared by your League of Women Voters of Washington statewide advocacy team.   

The governor is still signing bills and has called a special session,  so look for a final session wrap up this fall.  The bills that did not pass in 2023 will start again in January 2024.

Here is an update on six bills that we wrote about in the March Voter.  Kudos to the team who met with legislators to provide details and answer questions prior to the House vote on SB 5082 Abolishing Advisory Votes. 

The time between sessions, called the interim, is an excellent opportunity to meet our representatives over coffee.  We are planning to do that later this summer/early fall.  Please reach out to to join us! 

Democracy Legislation

SB 5082: Abolishing Advisory Votes: PASSED

This bill removed advisory votes from Washington state ballots. The effective date is 7/23/2023 so we will not see these on future ballots. What we will see is an accessible website with summaries of each of the most recently adopted operating, transportation, and capital budgets with:

  • Graphical depictions of budgeted expenditures by areas of government over the previous biennium
  • Tables comparing state and local expenditures with personal income over each of the preceding 20 years
  • A list of bills for which I-960 tax and fee analyses were prepared, links to the legislative website for each bill, and instructions on how to find the I-960 analyses.

With comprehensive fiscal information, this provision honors the will of the voters who voted for Initiative 960.

SB 5208: Updating Online Voter Registration: PASSED

Effective July 15, 2024, eligible citizens without drivers licenses will be allowed to register online through by providing the last four digits of social security number for authentication. 

This bill was brought forward by advocates at, who work to increase voting access and participation for young people across the state. The legislation was requested by the Secretary of State.

Social and Economic Legislation

SB 5120: Establishing 23-hour crisis relief centers in Washington state: PASSED

23-hour crisis relief centers are community-based facilities, serving adults experiencing a behavioral health crisis. They are open 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and accept walk-ins, drop-offs from first responders, and persons referred through the 988 system.

HB 1110: Increasing middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing: PASSED

What cities must do in their comprehensive plans and implementation ordinances is summarized below.

Cities with population 25,000-75,000 must allow: 
At least 2 units per lot in all residential zoning 
At least 4 units per lot within ¼ mile walking distance of major transit stop 
At least 4 units per lot if at least one unit is affordable housing

Cities with population 75,000+ must allow: 
At least 4 units per lot in all residential zoning
At least 6 units per lot within ¼ mile walking distance of major transit stop 
At least 6 units per lot if at least 2 units are affordable housing

Cities with population under 25,000 but in urban growth contiguous to largest city in a county with population 275,000+  must allow:
At least 2 units per lot on all lots zoned residential

To qualify for additional units, “affordable” means rented or sold and recorded to be maintained as affordable for at least 50 years and must be in range of sizes similar to the entire development WA State Department of Commerce will provide tech assistance and publish model middle housing ordinances w/in 6 months of effective date; these supersede city ordinance if the city has not adopted its own.

Climate and Energy Legislation

HB 1181: Improving the state's response to climate change by updating the state's planning framework: PASSED

This bill added a new section to the Growth Management Act adding a climate change and resiliency element to the list of elements that must be included within the local comprehensive plans. 

Both the middle housing bill and this bill will have a deep effect on how local comprehensive planning is done and should improve the state’s ability to respond to both climate change and housing needs. 

For more details of these and other League priorities, see the League of Women Voters current issues page.