OLYMPIA (Jan. 12, 2021) — The 2021 session of the Washington State Legislature began Monday. Most of this session will be conducted remotely due to COVID-19 pandemic, which means there won’t be the usual public rallies and in-person meetings with legislators. But there are still opportunities for union members and community allies to support a pro-worker bills and issues, like those that are part of the 2021 Workers’ Recovery Agenda of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Here’s how:
UNIVERSAL REMOTE TESTIMONY — The Legislature has expanded remote testimony capabilities so people can testify on any bill from anywhere up to an hour prior to a committee meeting.
To testify remotely in the Senate: https://app.leg.wa.gov/CSIRemote/Senate
To testify remotely in the House: https://app.leg.wa.gov/CSIRemote/House
SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY — People can also submit written testimony on any bill scheduled for a public hearing. People have long been able to submit written comment on a bill, but prior to this year, those comments were sent directly to the constituent’s own legislators. The new written testimony system saves comments where committee members and staff can access and read it, and where committee staff will later place it in the committee file and archive it where it will be maintained as part of the public record.
Written testimony can be submitted at the same links used to sign-in for public testimony above.
SET UP ZOOM MEETINGS WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS — Due to COVID-19 protocols, legislators won’t be meeting in person with constituents, but people are encouraged to schedule Zoom meetings with their senators and representatives.
To find your legislator’s contact information and schedule a meeting: https://app.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/
IT’S ALL ON TVW — As always, every committee meeting, floor session, press conference and special event will be broadcast at TVW.org.
Stay tuned to The Stand for more details on the WSLC’s Workers’ Recovery Agenda, including bill numbers and hearing dates/times.
► From Crosscut — How the WA Legislature plans to go remote during COVID-19 — The pandemic is creating more ways for people to make their voices heard at the state Capitol without traveling in person to Olympia.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Virtual session should be easier to testify and no harder to track from home (by Jim Camden) — This virtual session will have at least some pluses for people around the state who want to participate in some parts of the legislative process, or just keep track of what lawmakers are up to, without having to cross a mountain pass or get caught in Interstate 5 traffic.